Bay Area Leadership Directory

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Alyssa Earley

Individual Giving Officer

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers A deep gratitude for the transformative power of...

 

Alyssa Earley

Position: Individual Giving Officer
Email: aearley@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

A deep gratitude for the transformative power of mentorship in Alyssa’s own life led her to Summer Search. Witnessing students’ joy, perseverance, and ingenuity as they move into adulthood is a privilege that she is honored to support in her fundraising role.

Before joining Summer Search, Alyssa was the Associate Director of Individual Giving at Center for Youth Wellness, helping to connect the dots between the pervasive impact of childhood trauma and the mental and physical health implications on children, families, and communities. Previously she spent 3 years understanding money movement within Silicon Valley as a Senior Business Development Associate at an ultra-high net worth wealth management group. Having worked in both the private and public sector, Alyssa has never lost sight of her passion for working on high impact issues that intersect public health and social justice. She has held prior positions at Kaiser Permanente, The San Diego Hunger Coalition, and has also been involved with Ninjas For Health, a storytelling and tech startup aiming to modernize public health efforts with an equity focus.

Alyssa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from San Diego State University and is a rare San Diego native. She is on an endless search for new music, another art museum to peruse, and recently a new bird to spot while walking at Heron’s Head Park.

picture of Amanda Cho

Amanda Cho

Program Operations Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Amanda is a Bay Area native and passionate...

 
picture of Amanda Cho

Amanda Cho

Position: Program Operations Coordinator
Phone: 510.601.2130
Email: acho@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers. 

Amanda is a Bay Area native and passionate about supporting youth in her home community. As second generation Chinese American, she feels fortunate to have had her family’s support to attend a private liberal arts college. However, during her first two years, she learned how different her life experiences were compared to her peers. Moreover, she realized how these differences, or inequities, impacted college success and belonging. She transferred to a new school where she found her own community, but this experience motivated her to ensure all students have the support and resources to achieve their goals.

 

Amanda graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Occidental College. Since then, she’s worked at several education and youth organizations in the Peninsula and San Francisco. She’s very excited to now be supporting students in the East Bay and North Bay! In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the redwoods, hanging out at the climbing gym, and cooking for her friends and family.

Anceline Eustache

Program Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Having spent her entire career in youth development,...

 

Anceline Eustache

Position: Program Manager
Email: aeustache@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Having spent her entire career in youth development, Anceline is driven by the belief that everyone deserves an equal shot at the opportunity to succeed. As the daughter of a first-generation college student and immigrant, Anceline saw the power in receiving a quality education firsthand.

Prior to working at Summer Search, Anceline worked with adjudicated youth in the Juvenile Justice system. She was drawn to Summer Search for its long-term commitment and willingness to work with students wherever they are at.  She holds a BA in Psychology as well as in French and French Literature, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree.

In her spare time, she loves to hike, draw, travel, and spend time with her partner, family, and friends.

Anika Gillespie-Jones

Program Associate

Pronouns: Any Pronouns Anika was born and raised in Sonoma...

 

Anika Gillespie-Jones

Position: Program Associate
Phone: (707) 774-8193
Email: agillespiejones@summersearch.org

Pronouns: Any Pronouns

Anika was born and raised in Sonoma county in a single-parent household. Her determination to make a difference for her family was to attend college as a first-generation and to attain a full-time career position to end the ongoing cycle of poverty that has been faced within her family. Growing up she had to become resilient towards bullying, discrimination, and poverty but when she got into high school, she was able to join Summer Search where she had mentors that helped her surpass her expectations. When she got into high school, she enrolled at the Santa Rosa Junior College to get high school credits and begin collecting college credits as well. Being able to graduate high school on time and being accepted to colleges right after high school, changed everything for her. To make the best decision for herself, she continued her education at SRJC until she transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara where she expanded her knowledge on Black studies and Education. With her education, she has strived to advocate for those who may be labeled at-risk in school and those who are also wanting to change their own family cycles of poverty.

I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.”

– Angela Davis

Anita Li

Program Associate

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Anita was born and raised in San Francisco,...

 

Anita Li

Position: Program Associate
Email: ali@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Anita was born and raised in San Francisco, and grew up surrounded by cultural influences that have shaped her perspectives and narratives in which she is still currently exploring. Born into a Chinese-Costa-Rican household, Anita speaks both Cantonese and Spanish and is still navigating her identity in these multi-dimensional worlds of the second-generation immigrant experience. On her days off, you can find her hiding away in a coffee shop, on a hiking trail, or simply somewhere connecting with friends over good food and great ideas.

Anita graduated from Lawrence University with a degree in Psychology and Ethnic Studies. She experienced the culture shock in Wisconsin after having grown up in California all her life, but couldn’t have been more grateful for the experience that has led to her broadening her perspectives on race, social constructs, and systems of power. Through her experience there, she especially benefited from finding her own community outside of home, and gaining tools of empowerment and healing that she hopes to bring back to her community here in the bay.

An alum of this program, Anita has seen what the power of self-reflection, the love of a community, and the opportunity to broaden perspectives can do to one’s narrative. She’s extremely grateful that her journey to finding home has led her back to the place where she first learned how it felt to be her most authentic self.”

Austin Lim

Post-Secondary Success Program Associate

Raised in California’s Central Valley, Austin started their college education...

 

Austin Lim

Position: Post-Secondary Success Program Associate
Email: alim@summersearch.org

Raised in California’s Central Valley, Austin started their college education at Fresno City College. There, a job as a writing tutor sparked their passion for supporting other students and teaching, motivating them to transfer to UC Davis and earn a BA in English. Later, while completing an MA in English at SF State, they coordinated a team of writing tutors in a program designed to support minoritized students. This experience deepened their commitment to countering structural inequalities in higher ed. After a year in academic publishing, Austin is excited to return to working with students, especially in an organization that is dedicated to people’s wellbeing and to equity and justice.

In their free time, Austin enjoys listening to music, walking, and making various arts and crafts (currently: embroidery). Always an English major at heart, they love reading everything from comic books to histories of race in the US. Austin is continually learning from the work and thinking of abolitionists, anti-capitalists, queer and trans feminists, and Black and Indigenous scholars and activists, all of whom help them imagine steps toward a better world.

Barb Finley

Senior Post-Secondary Access Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Barb strongly believes that a diversity of voices...

 

Barb Finley

Position: Senior Post-Secondary Access Coordinator
Email: bfinley@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Barb strongly believes that a diversity of voices and backgrounds enriches the educational experience for all students. Her commitment to improving access to higher education for all students is what drew Barb to Summer Search. She’s excited to work as College Access Coordinator, supporting and empowering students as they navigate the process of planning for post-secondary life.

Barb received her B.A. from Hamilton College and her master’s in Counseling from NYU. She’s worked in college admissions at NYU and Columbia University, advocating for underrepresented students in the admission process. Barb is excited to support Summer Search students as they explore life after high school and be a strong champion for equal access to higher ed for all students.

While not at work, Barb loves to travel, cook, and spend time outdoors. She lives with her husband and two children in Sebastopol.

Brian Mertens

Director of High School Program

Pronouns: He/Him/His Brian believes in the importance of introspection, critical...

 

Brian Mertens

Position: Director of High School Program
Email: bmertens@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Brian believes in the importance of introspection, critical thinking and learning by doing. As Director of High School Program, he supports a talented group of mentors in their work with students and helps ensure that the High School Program runs smoothly.

His previous professional experience includes coordinating advocacy projects with youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and assisting high school students build their job skills through workshops and internships.

Brian holds a B.A. in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania. He likes to travel, read and spend time with friends.

Carly Solberg

Program Associate

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs, She/Her/Hers While pursuing their Women’s and Gender Studies undergraduate degree at Sonoma...

 

Carly Solberg

Position: Program Associate
Email: csolberg@summersearch.org

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs, She/Her/Hers

While pursuing their Women’s and Gender Studies undergraduate degree at Sonoma State University (SSU), Carly worked at SSU’s Cultural Center, tutored at the Writing Center, trained Peer Mentors, and led gender and sexuality trainings for students, staff, and community members. As an out and visible trans student at SSU, Carly found themself advocating for resources and support for queer and transgender students in order to make the college experience more equitable for underserved students.  Carly founded and facilitated the Trans and Gender-Questioning Support Group at Sonoma State and taught a course she created entitled “Trans Lives in the New Millennium”, which focused on the ways 21st Century transgender visibility in the United States creates a dichotomy between positive representation and rising levels of gendered violence against trans people. Carly had students reflect on the messages they received about transgender people, and the deeply held beliefs they had about gender, race, and class.
As a queer trans professional, Carly centers people with intersecting marginalized identities and experiences in their work. Having conversations about oppression and liberation and watching moments of deep connection happen for youth inspires Carly. As a Program Associate, she engages students in conversations about their identities and goals, helps them process the impacts of historical and institutional inequities, and encourages them to recognize their potential and resilience. Carly loves listening to her students, offering advice when appropriate, and hyping them up for all the incredible things they accomplish every day.
Carly enjoys finger-tapping to music as if she actually knows how to play the drums, is a big fan of cats, and thoroughly appreciates eating large amounts of sourdough toast in late hours of the night.

Christine Capacillo

Director of Alumni Relations and Career Services

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers/Siya Born to immigrant Filipino parents, Christine Capacillo was...

 

Christine Capacillo

Position: Director of Alumni Relations and Career Services
Phone: (510) 601-2140
Email: ccapacillo@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers/Siya

Born to immigrant Filipino parents, Christine Capacillo was born and raised in the Excelsior District of San Francisco, CA. Growing up, she was surrounded by strong family ties and embraced her community.  She was accepted into Summer Search as a student at Balboa High School. Her life changing summer experiences gave her the early exposure to becoming a leader in advocating for educational equity. Christine propelled to be the first in her family to attend college. At UCLA, she immediately emerged as a student activist and leader focusing on local and international social justice and educational equity issues. She went on to serve in various roles between the Summer Search San Francisco and New York City sites. In 2002, she served as the very first Summer Search Alumni Director.

 

Christine has dedicated her entire career in ensuring equity for underrepresented communities and has worked in the educational non-profit sector for the past 20 years. She earned her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Columbia University Teachers College and led efforts in bridging access to higher education for underrepresented students. She has contributed her work and leadership at other nationally recognized organizations such as Harlem Children’s Zone, College Summit (now known as Peer Forward), iMentor and Black Girls CODE. After living in New York for 13 years, she thrilled to be back in Bay Area and return to Summer Search full circle as the Director of Alumni Relations and Career Services. She is eager to lead efforts to address, combat and remedy the racial inequity in the workforce and provide thoughtful, relevant and quality programming to her fellow alumni community. She is also a founding member of Level, a diverse professional women’s network taking action in addressing the racial wealth gap by investing in Black women entrepreneurs. Christine enjoys attending concerts, hosting gatherings, and traveling with her fiancé and son.

Donaciano Botello Torres

School and Community Engagement Manager

Donaciano was born in Michoacan, Mexico and came to the...

 

Donaciano Botello Torres

Position: School and Community Engagement Manager
Email: dbotellotorres@summersearch.org

Donaciano was born in Michoacan, Mexico and came to the United States when he was two months old. He was raised in a small town in Sonoma County, where his father worked as a farm worker and his mother as a maid. Raised on the belief that higher education was not only a possibility but an expectation, his status of being an undocumented student did not deter him from pursuing a four-year degree. He graduated from Windsor High School in 2006, and went on to attend Sacramento State University where he doubled majored in Sociology and Ethnic Studies; he now pursues a Masters in Higher Education Leadership there. He feels grateful for the various mentors who guided him throughout his educational career and provided him with a sense of empowerment and motivation.

Donaciano is a keen social advocate, and brings to our team broad experience from his prior work in community organizing and student support within institutions of higher education. His passion to serve others is what propels him at Summer Search. As an alumni of the Summer Search North Bay program, he is aware of the challenges of being a low-income, first generation student. He is proud to come back full circle and work for Summer Search at the office that provided him the support and motivation to succeed, not only in high school, but in life.

Fernando Serrato

Career Navigator & Internship Manager

Fernando has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of...

 

Fernando Serrato

Position: Career Navigator & Internship Manager
Email: fserrato@summersearch.org

Fernando has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of college students during his seven years at Summer Search! He is excited and eager to help young adults transition after high school and excel in their academic, professional, and social endeavors.

Fernando grew up in Morgan Hill, California. The first in his family to graduate from college, he values the relationships and opportunities that have shaped his journey. He believes in the power of storytelling and the strength in community. Fernando earned a degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. He is passionate about engaging young people in career exploration and connecting them to local internships and employment opportunities. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his daughter and family/friends and appreciates the outdoors, food, music, and art.

Gabrielle Esquivel

Program Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Gabrielle is motivated by young people and power...

 

Gabrielle Esquivel

Position: Program Manager
Email: gesquivel@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Gabrielle is motivated by young people and power they possess. High School students are unique because they can create optimism among the jaded while identifying the problems and solutions for their communities. Gabrielle strives to be purposeful in her work while challenging the different ways she can be present in communities.

Gabrielle worked with high school students during her two years with City Year Cleveland. During her time with City Year, she became passionate about equity, especially education equity. She was an advocate for her students in and out of the classroom.

Gabrielle holds a BA in Sociology and Ethnic Studies from Bowling Green State University. When she isn’t at Summer Search, Gabrielle travels, spends time with loved ones, and binge watches Netflix. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and enjoys exploring the Bay Area, especially Oakland.

Jason Baker

Lead Mentor

Pronouns: He/Him/His Jason is a committed youth worker who possesses...

 

Jason Baker

Position: Lead Mentor
Email: jbaker@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Jason is a committed youth worker who possesses a proven ability to challenge young people to think about their values and attitude in order to develop, achieve and manage their behavior.

A first generation college graduate, Jason received his B.A. from California State University East Bay with a degree in sociology and served as recovery counselor at Thunder Road. Jason brings an understanding of the needs of young people to his role as Program Associate and is eager to help our students raise their aspirations. Jason currently resides in Oakland where he went to Skyline high school. Jason connects with summer search because he is also a first generation graduate.

Currently a resident of Oakland, Jason was a former athlete at Skyline high school and in college, and he enjoys running and weightlifting in his spare time.

 

Javier Villafuerte

Post-Secondary Access Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His Having grown up in Whittier and Anaheim, California,...

 

Javier Villafuerte

Position: Post-Secondary Access Coordinator
Email: jvillafuerte@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Having grown up in Whittier and Anaheim, California, Javier is a first-gen student whose life experiences has propelled him to work with and advocate for youth. He started his post-secondary journey at Orange Coast College, a community college in Costa Mesa, CA. At OCC, he was able to gain the skills and knowledge to transfer to a 4-year institution after a few years. He then received a BA in English at UC Berkeley where he was involved on campus with organizations that focused on equity and inclusion as well as youth outreach and support. He is currently completing his MA in Comparative Literature at SF State and has worked as a tutor and teaching assistant there as well.

Javier learned and received support from amazing mentors and counselors throughout his own post-secondary experience and wishes to continue that work for future generations. He seeks to support other first-gen and low-income students to have access to as much information about post-secondary life as possible. He is also an outspoken advocate for the importance and value of community colleges.

In his free time, Javier enjoys playing new and old Pokémon video games, spending time with his family and friends, learning new languages, and reading a variety of books from different genres including YA, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Historical Fiction.

Jen Tribbet

Program Associate

Jen is compelled to do work that inspires authenticity and...

 

Jen Tribbet

Position: Program Associate
Email: jtribbet@summersearch.org

Jen is compelled to do work that inspires authenticity and understanding to promote shared wellbeing. As someone who has had nonprofits play a major role in developing the values they hold nearest, Jen is thrilled to be in the position to be a part of facilitating the growth of the young people of today who will be the adults of tomorrow.

After finishing a BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies from The College of Wooster Jen started working with young people as a College Persistence Coordinator at East Bay College Fund. Following working at East Bay College Fund Jen took a short break from structured office work to pursue the arts, which eventually landed him at YR Media. At YR Media Jen assisted in teaching high schoolers various aspects of media, from digital art to journalism. Having felt very accomplished as a journalist, from working with NPR to winning the Excellence in Multimedia Award from the NLGJA, Jen also felt the pressure of consistently churning out quality stories was getting to be a bit much, but wanted to hold on to the energy that young people were optimistically bringing to the work environment. The goal of working with young people to shape the future is ultimately what brought Jen to Summer Search and what inspires Jen to do the best work on their behalf.

In Jen’s spare time he likes to listen to music of various genre’s, listen to podcasts, watch anime, cook and sew.

Jocelyn Sanchez

Senior Post-Secondary Success Coordinator

Jocelyn is committed to serving underprivileged youth and seeing them...

 

Jocelyn Sanchez

Position: Senior Post-Secondary Success Coordinator
Email: jsanchez@summersearch.org

Jocelyn is committed to serving underprivileged youth and seeing them soar to reach their dreams. Being a first-generation college graduate in her family with a Masters in school counseling, she encourages her students to challenge themselves while providing support along the way.

She joined Summer Search in the beginning of 2015 as a program associate. She excited to begin the college process with her caseload of seniors and looks forward to explore all the opportunities that await them.  After finishing graduate school in NYC, Jocelyn moved to Seattle for two years where she worked as a high school counselor. It was there that she learned about Summer Search while mentors were conducting interviews at the school. Jocelyn was inspired by the kind of work Summer Search does with their student’s and knew that was the route she wanted to take for her own career path.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with my friends and family. She also really enjoys spending time in the kitchen practicing her cooking and baking skills… and then eating.

Julia Barbano

Program Coordinator

Julia is passionate about “getting curious” and believes in the...

 

Julia Barbano

Position: Program Coordinator
Email: jbarbano@summersearch.org

Julia is passionate about “getting curious” and believes in the power of learning about ourselves through shared experience. This is at the root of her life-long fascination with all things science. She’s also interested in understanding the correlation between personal and global health and has, consequently, spent her career focused on personal wellness and youth development. This is why the work she does at Summer Search is aligned and meaningful for her.

Before Summer Search Julia spent over a decade teaching pre-K through 8th grade Science, Health and Physical Education. In her summers she was a Camp Director for an innovation camp that encouraged growth through collaboration, failing and fun. In both of these venues she sharpened her leadership skills, empathy and deepened her understanding for how to truly support others.

Julia graduated with a BS in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona. When she isn’t steeped in mentor calls she enjoys tending the fig tree, exploring the oceans from behind a scuba mask, singing a capella with her Monday night chorus, and eating good Oakland food.

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