Sophia Liu: Summer Scholars
As our name suggests, we believe that summer is a big deal.
Upon enrolling in Summer Search, our students participate in unique experiential opportunities during the summers following their sophomore and junior years of high school. These experiences help our young leaders (in partnership with their mentors) reflect on and learn from their triumphs and setbacks, which serves to strengthen the skills and mindsets needed for the journey to and through college.
But what about the summer after high school graduation, right before stepping onto a college campus? In addition to supporting our students as they make that huge transition, Summer Search Boston has been partnering with John Hancock in order to provide additional summer opportunities for our college-bound grads.
We are proud to be part of John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars Program, which provides funding for Boston nonprofits to hire local youth for paid summer jobs. For the past ten years, the program, which is built on the inspirational values and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has annually funded more than 600 summer jobs at nearly 70 organizations in the Boston area.
This is Summer Search Boston’s eighth year participating in the program, which allows us to offer paid internships to a few of our high school seniors. As they transition from high school into our College Success program, the MLK Summer Scholars program provides a valuable opportunity for students to get an inside glimpse into how Summer Search works, contribute to the organization, and gain professional skills before college.
This summer, we have three Summer Searchers working as interns, or “fellows” as we like to call them — Silvia, Daniella, and Juaddy.
A few summers ago, Sophia Liu participated in the MLK Scholars program before heading off to college. At the time, she was interested in working in the nonprofit sector and thought, “What better place to work than the organization that helped me?”
During her fellowship, Sophia was responsible for administrative tasks in the Summer Search Boston office, and also participated in bi-weekly leadership and professional development workshops with her fellow MLK Summer Scholars from all over the city at Boston University.
Her favorite part was working on a special project creating notes of encouragement and inspiration to send to Summer Search students on their summer experiences. Sophia really appreciated receiving one of those notes when she was a sophomore on her first summer program, and she loved the idea of being able to give that feeling to another student. Teyana Curran, the mentor who managed the internship, shared that Sophia went above and beyond to make those notes meaningful by gathering inspirational quotes and drawing pictures. The opportunity to give back to Summer Search was incredibly rewarding to her.
Now a rising junior at Centre College in Kentucky, Sophia has spent her last two summers as an intern at a biotech company, an opportunity facilitated by Summer Search. These additional summer experiences helped her decide on a major in Behavioral Neuroscience and inspired her to follow her interests in conducting research.
We want to say thank you to John Hancock for their commitment to partnering with Summer Search and other Boston organizations to provide professional development opportunities to our young people. Congratulations on the tenth anniversary of the MLK Summer Scholars Program from all of us at Summer Search! #BostonWorks