Tag Archives: COVID-19

Stories From A Historic Class

For the first time in the University of California (UC) system’s history, Chicano or Latino students made up the greatest share of Californians admitted to the freshman class, at 36%.

As part of its “California Today” column, The New York Times profiled four members of this historic freshman class — discussing being part of a major shift in UC system and about starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And two of those featured students are Summer Searchers — Mariana and Dora from the Bay Area!

Screenshots of two Summer Searchers featured in The New York Times.

Continue reading Stories From A Historic Class

Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

At the outset of the summer, as it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would mean that travel wasn’t going to be possible, we made the decision that we would not send our young people on our traditional summer experiences in 2020.

So, while the coronavirus may have changed our summer plans, it hasn’t stopped us from finding ways to provide our students opportunities for connection, reflection, and growth.

Thanks to the hard work and creativity of our incredible staff, dedicated volunteers, and summer partners, we are offering online/digital programming that connects students to internships, post-secondary exploration, cultural exchange, as well as workshops on financial well-being and more.

And summer is already underway!

Continue reading Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

Change is Coming

Last week, Summer Search students, alumni, staff, and supporters gathered together digitally for the second installment in our Black Lives Matter Community Series.

As Summer Search CEO Marc Spencer stated at the opening of the program, “Our purpose in this three-part Black Lives Matter series is to come together during this important moment to heal, learn together, and discuss how we can take action to create a world where all young people can thrive.”

Education and learning was the focus of this event, holding space to discuss how systemic racism shows up in the many facets of our lives.

Continue reading Change is Coming

Navigating the COVID-19 Job Market

How do you find a job when the world is grappling with a global pandemic and a rapidly-changing employment and economic landscape where more than 40 million people are out of work?

A few months ago we brought together a panel of Summer Search alumni and partners to tackle that question from a few different angles:

  • Naming the challenges that recent college graduates and early-career professionals are facing in the job market,
  • Sharing ways that Summer Searchers can adapt to the new reality and make themselves stand out to employers,
  • And discussing how our community as a whole can support each other, and our young people.

Graduating Into Uncertainty: Supporting Young People Navigating the Job Market

Continue reading Navigating the COVID-19 Job Market

A Vigil For Healing

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

— excerpt from Lift Every Voice & Sing


In recent weeks, our community, like so many others, has been mourning, taking action, and trying to heal.

This inspired an idea to truly bring the Summer Search community together, offering a space to honor George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, and the ever-growing list of Black and Brown people who have died because of violence and racism.

Envisioned by Sylvia Watts McKinney, Summer Search Philadelphia Executive Director, and supported by Hermese Velasquez (Boston ED and alumna), Kris Leja (Bay Area ED), and many others across our network, our team moved quickly to create a Community Vigil Series — a three-part series of virtual events to come together focusing on healing, education, and action. Continue reading A Vigil For Healing

2020 Decisions – Part 2

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

While the last few months have truly been confusing and heartbreaking, we remain inspired by the hope embodied by our young people, as they quickly adapt to a pandemic and stand up against social injustice. Again and again, Summer Search students show resilience and determination as they pursue their education and seek new opportunities to grow, thrive, and become the next generation of purpose-driven leaders.

Last month, we shined a light on a handful of Summer Searchers in the Class of 2020 who were celebrating their post-secondary decisions. Today we’re checking in with three more high school seniors: Anjaliyah, Jason, and Rasmee.

Summer Search Boston Student AmbassadorsFrom left to right: Jason, Anjaliyah, and Rasmee.

Continue reading 2020 Decisions – Part 2

Optimism and Resilience

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO.


Dear Summer Search Community,

I hope you and your family are doing well. Thank you for your support and encouragement over these past few months — and thank you to the Summer Search staff for supporting our students during this pandemic with compassion, creativity, and care.

These are truly confusing times. On the one hand, the brutality we are experiencing with the ongoing killing of black males coupled with the significant impact of the pandemic and recession is both frightening and infuriating.

On the other hand, as our Summer Search community continues to adapt to change, we are also starting to look ahead to next year with a spirit of optimism and resilience. Here are some organizational updates:

Continue reading Optimism and Resilience

Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

The following is a guest post and reflection from Seattle Summer Searcher Jessica Par, a junior at University of Washington Seattle pursuing Education. This was originally shared as part of Summer Search Seattle’s Unstoppable Campaign.


Being a part of Summer Search has changed my life. As a first-generation college student, and coming from a refugee background, I was so lost during high school. But Summer Search was able to provide me structure, while supporting me with resources and authentic mentorship. My Summer Search mentor plays such a critical role in my life that I’m not sure where I’d be without her. From talking about academic issues to professional development to personal matters, she has always been there for me.

Jessica ParJessica Par.

Continue reading Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

Adapting to Support Our Community

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO.


Dear Summer Search Community,

I hope this note finds you and yours healthy and doing well. I’m writing to share what is happening in our network and how the talented and committed Summer Search team is responding to the needs of our students, alumni, and staff.

Since our last community message in March, our students and their families have experienced lost jobs, food insecurity, and housing crises, in addition to a sense of isolation that comes from sheltering in place.

Now more than ever, students need to know they are not alone. Continue reading Adapting to Support Our Community

Alumnus Helps Former Teacher During COVID Crisis

“We managed to get on what turned out to be one of the last flights leaving the country… By the end of the day all borders of the country were closed. No one in or out. Vasny saved us!”

Vasny Maldonado was nominated to apply for Summer Search by his teacher, Jan Hudson, at Mission High School in San Francisco in 1996. In present day, during the outbreak of the coronavirus, the two were reunited in an unexpected, yet meaningful way. But first, back to 1996…

Vasny Wilderness Summer ProgramVasny Maldonado during one of his summer experiences.

Continue reading Alumnus Helps Former Teacher During COVID Crisis