Choose a Category below to see team members across all locations
Kenyon joined the Summer Search community in January 2014, where he helps to build the circle of individuals and institutions who invest in our Bay Area students and alumni. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Kenyon has spent his career in nonprofit resource development, leveraging his lifelong propensity for making personal connections in service to his values of social justice and equity. Prior to Summer Search, he held development leadership roles with Jumpstart and Peer Health Exchange.
Kenyon is an enthusiastic alumnus of Macalester College and earned his Master of Nonprofit Administration degree through the University of San Francisco School of Management. He was a singing member, volunteer, and board member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus from 2008-2020 and remains an active member of that community.
Dreaming of a world robust with social and educational equity, SiMone has spent the majority of her professional experiences working in youth development.
Her journey started as a first-generation college student at UC Berkeley where she graduated with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Motivated to serve, she spent several years working within public schools in the Bay Area. Then, she first joined Summer Search as a high school mentor, and has since supported within the post-secondary program as an advisor, a program manager, and now as the Post-Secondary Program director.
Outside of Summer Search, she spends most of her time traveling around the larger Bay Area and Sacramento where she cherishes spending time with her partner, friends, family, and dogs. You might even catch her out on the dance floor performing, teaching, or enjoying song after song until her feet hurt.
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.
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.
Donaciano Botello Torres
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.
““We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez, United Farm Workers
For several years Noemi worked at the Chico State campus for the First-Year Experience Program where she mentored incoming students and helped them make a successful transition to college life- emphasizing academic and civic engagement, as well as social well-being. She was and continues to be driven by the desire to challenge our educational system to address systemic racism, oppression, and high DFW rates regarding students of historically marginalized communities. Noemi is excited to continue her work at Summer Search with students and their plans regarding post-secondary education.
When not working, Noemi enjoys taking her dog to explore new parks, watching movies with her dog, or eating delicious foods.”
Laura is motivated by her belief in the power of young people to change the world when they have access to the tools and mentors to support them. Laura brings a decade of experience supporting nonprofits in education and youth development. Most recently, she served as the Director of Individual Giving and Events at City Year Jacksonville.
Laura received a master’s degree in public service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and a bachelor’s degree in international relations, history, and religion from the University of Miami. A native Floridian, Laura enjoys traveling, baking, and exploring the Bay Area.
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.
Working with youth from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds is where Mira thrives. She spent 9 years working for a non-profit that exclusively worked with first generation, low income teen girls. It was at this non-profit that Mira discovered her passion for mentoring youth with an intersectional lens and a holistic approach.
She graduated from Sonoma State University (SSU) in 2016 majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in Youth Activism. At SSU Mira saw the direct effects that the heteronormative patriarchal society was having on the students and youth around her. Not one to sit and wait, Mira decided to take action, and after college dedicated her career path to helping create a more inclusive community for marginalized youth. Seeing the importance that higher education can have in an individual’s life, Mira wanted to assist in college access by becoming an admissions counselor at Dominican University of California.
Slowly but surely, Mira found her way back to Summer Search where she had previously been an intern in 2012. She is now a proud Program Associate where she hopes to continue to support students in pursuing their aspirations.
In her spare time Mira enjoys hitting the pavement for social justice movements related to her favorite political issues, playing her ukulele or just sitting around and binge watching a mindless TV show.
Growing up, Shelby experienced firsthand the transformative effects of summer experiential learning and mentorship as a camper, counselor, and program director at a youth summer camp; growing and becoming more self-confident after each camp session. She is thrilled to help provide similar opportunities to students at Summer Search, and to be working toward greater equity and social justice in the Bay Area.
Prior to Summer Search, Shelby worked as a development coordinator at Reading Partners and volunteered as a literacy tutor in the Oakland Unified School District. She received a master’s degree in public affairs with concentration in nonprofit management from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in political science, sociology and anthropology, and Spanish from Principia College.
In her free time, Shelby enjoys exploring the Bay Area, hiking new trails, trying new workout classes, and dog-spotting.
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.
Brian believes in the importance of introspection, critical thinking and learning by doing. As Regional Program Director, he supports Summer Search staff in their work with participants and helps ensure that the entire program from outreach to post-secondary and beyond 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.
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.
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.
Zavi attended camp for the first time when she was ten years old. That one week made her feel more capable, confident, and connected than she had ever felt, and she knew that she wanted to do work that would help other kids feel the same. Zavi began her service career in elementary school, as a Kindergarten Mentor and AAA School Safety Monitor.
Now, she is an educator who thrives on a mix of mentoring, facilitating, and project management. Zavi helps youth do their best, whether that means finishing a 10 mile hike, improving grades, or finding their voices. She has ten years’ of experience in youth service and programming. Before coming to Summer Search she worked for The Mosaic Project, Naturebridge Yosemite, The YMCA, and Girl Scouts of Greater LA.
Zavi is from Southern California where she grew up reading, rollerblading, and going to concerts. She also enjoys board games, and making costumes, nail art, and piñatas.
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.
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.
A lifelong passion for working with youth and the belief that access to quality education should be available to all drew Justin to Summer Search.
Justin earned his B.S. in Music from the University of Central Missouri and a M.M. in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University. It was through music and his time at Rutgers that Justin fully realized his desire to pursue a career in education. Prior to joining Summer Search, Justin worked in development for Jazz House Kids, a non-profit music organization based in New Jersey.
In his spare time, Justin enjoys traveling, cooking, watching baseball, and exploring the many jazz clubs of New York City. Justin lives in Newark with his girlfriend and their extremely feisty cat.