Van is a Vietnam-born American, a first-year medical student at the University of Washington, and a proud Summer Search Seattle alum. Coming from a low-income immigrant background, he has seen first-hand the life-changing impact of amazing mentorship from Summer Search which helped him strive to meet his potential while navigating socioeconomic barriers. His long-term goals as a future physician include bridging the gap of access to good healthcare for immigrant and refugee patients, as well as learning how to be a culturally sensitive provider for underserved communities. As a new member of the Seattle alumni board, Van hopes to continue supporting Summer Search to continue changing lives for young people. When he’s not nose-deep in the books, Van is usually playing video games, writing, and learning new dance choreographies.
Shabazz is a Seattle native who graduated from Cleveland HS in 2013. She is passionate about the education and empowerment of underprivileged communities. After graduating from University of Washington with a B.A in Urban Planning, Shabazz now runs her own consulting firm working with community based organizations. Outside of work, you can find Shabazz gardening, working on DIY projects and trying new recipes in the kitchen. A life long bookworm, Shabazz is an avid reader whose fictional escapades turned into a real-life love of travel.
My name is Mohamed Abdi. I am a proud Muslim, Somali, African American Leader who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and raised in Tukwila and Seattle, Washington. I have been an advocate for racial and social justice issues since high school, where I served as a board representative for the Tukwila School District when I was 16 years old. And as an intentional Servant Leader, my approach in my community work is through a solid, social justice and racial equity lens.
Throughout my leadership experiences, I’m really big on youth mentorship at Somali Health Board. I have served as an organizer with the City of Seattle’s Immigrant Family Institute Advisory Board and I have helped lobby bills on homelessness, immigration, and education both locally and federally since I was 14 years old.
I’m the eldest of 8 children and I am a first-generation college student who has graduated from the University of Washington at Seattle with an AES major and minor in diversity. And for me, I’m also currently the youngest councilman in Tukwila history at 24. And I’m proud to be serving the city that made me the man I am today.
Melen is a Summer Search Alumna (Franklin High School Class of 2015) passionate about outdoor education, youth empowerment and challenging inequities to higher education. She received her B.A from the University of Washington (Class of 2019) with a focus on Rhetorical Communications. Melen is currently serving with AmeriCorps at College Possible Washington as a Senior High School Coach. In her free time, you’re sure to catch her outside on a walk or hike, trying a new recipe from Bon Appetit, or snuggled up at home with the newest fantasy novel.
Preferred Pronouns: She / They
Born and raised in Chin State, Myanmar (Burma), Jessica resettled in Washington at a young age and grew up in South King County area. While growing up with her refugee family/community, Jessica realized the importance of education and was determined to pursue higher education. Jessica earned her B.A. in Education as a first-generation college student, where Summer Search played a critical role in achieving that milestone through the mentorship and guidance the organization provides for their Summer Search students. Now working as an Academic Adviser at their alma mater, University of Washington in the Seattle campus, Jessica is excited to be in community again with Summer Search by being a part of the alumni board.
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him
Jayjay was born and raised in South Seattle and graduated from Franklin High School in 2017. He went on to study at both Bellevue College and the University of Washington to earn his B.A in Psychology and minor in Education. Jayjay is currently a peer mentor for neurodiverse students and is committed to continue supporting the success of marginalized groups through his values in mentorship and personal growth. He hopes to impact others’ lives in similar ways that Summer Search has impacted his. In his free time, you can either catch him binge reading manga or in the gym trying to reach a new max on his squat, bench, or deadlift.
Jaylin Prescott is a Renton High Alumni who graduated in 2015. He attended Cornish College of the Arts for Design and later founded Phenomena Studios manufacturing company which produces clothing for local artist, groups, non-profits, and more. He is currently working on his real estate license and is enrolled at Bellevue college in pursuit of an AA in Business management. In his free time he enjoys playing dominoes & hosting barbecues.
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.
Bao-Chau is a Summer Search Seattle Alumna (Ingraham High School Class of 2011) dedicated to challenging inequity, championing social change, and celebrating diversity. She received her B.A. from Cornell College (Class of 2015) with a concentration in Mathematics and Economics. She is currently a Finance Associate at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Outside of work, you can find her mixing up a mean home craft cocktail, and caring for her plant collection and two fur children.
Elizabeth is Los Angeles born and Renton raised. She graduated from Renton High School in 2015 and went on to earn her B.A. in psychology with a minor in sociology at Scripps College. She is now pursuing her MAED in School Counseling at Seattle University. Elizabeth was moved to return to Summer Search as an alumni board member out of her gratitude for all that the Summer Search Seattle team has done to help cultivate her into the leader she is today. Elizabeth credits her experience as a Summer Searcher for fostering her passion and commitment to supporting low income, first-generation students of color like herself. It is in becoming a secondary school counselor that she hopes she will be able to continue facilitating the growth and success of many more students to come.
In her spare time, Elizabeth can be found enjoying a good video game with family and friends, binging true crime podcasts, practicing her Japanese, catching up on This Is Us, and cuddling with her Pomeranian Eskimo Snowball.
Tigist is a passionate and driven advocate for marginalized individuals and aims to contribute her time to serve underprivileged youth in any capacity. Being raised in Tukwila, WA she has had the privilege of growing up in one of the most diverse communities in our nation. She proudly graduated from Foster High School in 2011 where she went on to attend Washington State University to attain her B.S in Psychology, minoring in Childhood Development. She loved her experience so much she went back to WSU to attain her MBA and will be graduating spring of 2021.
She has a two-year-old son whom she accredits her endless source of motivation, too. In her spare time, you can find her behind her phone frantically trying to capture every memorable moment with her phone. Photography has naturally become a part of her favorite new hobbies because of her son Ilyas. In addition to savoring moments, she is also a self-acclaimed foodie, relishing in anything edible. She also enjoys long hikes and rainy Sunday evenings.