OUR TEAM

Choose a Category below to see team members across all locations

Hermese Velasquez

Hermese Velasquez

Executive Director, Boston

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers. A native of Belize, Central America and a...

 
Hermese Velasquez

Hermese Velasquez

Position: Executive Director, Boston
Email: HVelasquez@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.

A native of Belize, Central America and a first-generation college graduate, Hermese has firsthand experience with the game changing power of education. Hermese’s long-standing commitment to Summer Search spans multiple roles, including participant during her high school years, Alumni Board Chair, and member of the Summer Search Boston Board of Directors. It is Hermese’s delight and Summer Search’s great fortune to have her add staff member to that list, stepping into the role of Boston Executive Director in December 2016.

Before joining the Summer Search staff, Hermese was a results-oriented Project Manager in the travel industry. She has provided project management over several top priority initiatives and enterprise wide implementations, cultivating her skills in data analysis, risk assessment, communication, relationship building, and change management, vital talents for a non-profit leader. While her professional experience is heavy in the project management capacity, her volunteer experience has been dominated by Summer Search! Though Hermese’s after work haven is now her full-time gig, she continues to volunteer as a coach for adults reentering college.

During the warmer months, Hermese enjoys daily 5Ks while listening to Beyoncé and Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits! She also loves to travel and has visited at least 1 new country a year for the past 5 years; with 5 continents, down and 2 more to go! Hermese and her family live in Boston.

Kat Buckingham

Foundations Relations Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Kat believes that everyone has the right to forge their...

 

Kat Buckingham

Position: Foundations Relations Manager
Email: kbuckingham@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kat believes that everyone has the right to forge their own path in life. She sees the power in telling the story of self and seeks to provide youth a chance to explore and unpack their stories in safe spaces, with mentors who believe in and support them.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Kat worked for the Boston-based NGO South Africa Partners as a program assistant, and with the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM). She graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy.

Outside of the office, Kat can be found running, biking, singing, and eating entirely too much Thai food.

Devin Hill

Program Associate

Pronouns: He/Him/His Devin has a passion for working with young...

 

Devin Hill

Position: Program Associate
Email: dhill@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Devin has a passion for working with young adults and helping them to discover their passions and reach their potential. At Summer Search he works as a program associate and enjoys the opportunity to help guide young students through their High School years.

Prior to Summer Search he worked as the guidance counselor for DME Sports Academy, a prep school in Daytona Beach, FL. He competed for the Men’s basketball team at DePaul University in Chicago, IL from 2008 – 2011.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine. He now lives in Jamaica Plain, MA.

When not at Summer Search he coaches the Women’s Basketball team at Roxbury Community College and coaches AAU basketball with the New York Gauchos.

Sam Larkan

Donor Relations Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Sam believes strongly that every individual deserves access...

 

Sam Larkan

Position: Donor Relations Manager
Email: slarkan@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Sam believes strongly that every individual deserves access to opportunity and the support system to help them reach their potential.

Before joining the Summer Search team, Sam worked in development and communications for a variety of non profits, primarily focused on education and women and youth empowerment. Her most recent role was at a local charter public school and she looks forward to continuing to work to support the students of Boston. Her passion lies in working for organizations that are creating positive change in their communities.

Sam holds a Bachelors degree in Media, Culture and Communications from New York University. Outside of work she enjoys reading, yoga and travelling to see as much of the world as she can.

Kristie Loftus

Director of Development

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Kristie believes passionately in providing equal access to...

 

Kristie Loftus

Position: Director of Development
Email: kloftus@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kristie believes passionately in providing equal access to educational opportunities.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Kristie led development efforts for Breakthrough Greater Boston, an educational non-profit providing out-of-school time programming, and City on a Hill Charter Public Schools, a charter school network in Boston and New Bedford. It was through City on a Hill students who were involved with Summer Search that she first began her admiration for the organization ten years before joining the team.

Kristie holds a B.A. in Sociology from Villanova University. Outside of the office, she can be found running, snowboarding, and having a blast with her husband and two boys. She and her family live in Milton.

Darryl Soto

School and Community Engagement Manager

Pronouns: He/Him/His Darryl believes in spreading love and understanding to...

 

Darryl Soto

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

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Darryl believes in spreading love and understanding to each other and our surroundings.

Darryl came to Summer Search with a background in youth development, providing students with opportunities that will help them be successful in their future. At Squashbusters in Lawrence, MA, Darryl was the head squash coach and led the high school portion of the Lawrence program.

Darryl graduated from the Summer Search program in 2010 before heading to Colby College, where he created his own major within the American Studies and Photography departments. Darryl played on the Colby men’s varsity squash team and held leadership positions for several clubs on campus, such as the Men of Color Alliance, Colby’s Gentlemen of Quality, and Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity. He graduated from Colby in 2014 and began working in youth development.

In his spare time, Darryl enjoys spending time at the gym, traveling, cooking, being with family and friends, but ultimately being on his couch watching comedy sitcoms or action tv series.

Pedro Suncar

Program Manager

Pronouns: He/Him/His Pedro comes to Summer Search with a commitment...

 

Pedro Suncar

Position: Program Manager
Email: psuncar@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Pedro comes to Summer Search with a commitment to helping students succeed, while providing them with tools to use as they navigate their high school careers, and progress into their collegiate careers.

After working in student affairs for several years, Pedro felt a need to help high school students succeed in their high school careers, while also aiding in their goals for higher education selection and retention.

Pedro worked in Providence, as a 1st grade Instructor, providing lessons for learning and enrichment in the Providence school system and surrounding community. Pedro holds a B.A. in Psychology focusing in adolescent development and mental health.

Ethan George

Director of Program Operations

Pronouns: He/Him/His Ethan believes that confidence building through adventure and...

 

Ethan George

Position: Director of Program Operations
Email: egeorge@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Ethan believes that confidence building through adventure and mentorship is key to supporting teen development. Ethan also understands the need for deeper equity in Boston, a city with a widening opportunity gap. Before arriving at Summer Search, Ethan worked at Youth Enrichment Services managing adventure programs and volunteers. His work experience also includes student instruction at Thompson Island Outward Bound, case management at Action for Boston Community Development, and coaching at Boston College High School.

Ethan holds a BA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire and a Core Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice.

Outside of his work, Ethan enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, gardening, and playing speed chess.

Stephanie Tafur

Director of Post-Secondary Program and Alumni Relations

Stephanie’s passion for social change manifests in the way she...

 

Stephanie Tafur

Position: Director of Post-Secondary Program and Alumni Relations
Email: stafur@summersearch.org

Stephanie’s passion for social change manifests in the way she mentors students and staff to believe in their own potential. She imagines a world that when we come together as a community, anything is possible. As a Posse Alumna, Stephanie understands the importance of support that is necessary to be successful in higher education and how it relates to college access. Throughout her time at Hamilton College, Stephanie truly unearthed her passion in social justice and diversity and equity work. She culminated her time at Hamilton with a BA in Africana Studies and continued her education at New York University pursuing her MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Combining her studies along with her passion for serving her community, Stephanie decided to work for the Posse Foundation. Working at Posse was a way for her to give back to an organization and community that has impacted her life. After graduate school, she served as a Program Coordinator at Posse Boston and learned about Summer Search through alumni and staff. Excited about Summer Search’s one-on-one mentorship and belief in student’s infinite potential, Stephanie served as a Program Associate and Mentor in the Boston office.

She returns to Summer Search Boston as the Director of Post-Secondary and Alumni Relations after working as Posse Boston’s Program Director for almost six years. Throughout her career with nonprofit education organizations, Stephanie has worked with diverse cadres of students. She has formed and maintained partnerships with schools and community organizations, and she has organized and overseen internal program development.

On her time off, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her partner, family, and friends and playing with her four godsons. Stephanie enjoys taking walks to relax, exploring new places, and focusing on her spiritual growth.

Bernadette Peeples

Senior Program Director

Pronouns she/her/hers Bernadette (Bernie) believes that great youth work is...

 

Bernadette Peeples

Position: Senior Program Director
Email: bpeeples@summersearch.org

Pronouns she/her/hers

Bernadette (Bernie) believes that great youth work is part science and part art form-and that all youth should have equal opportunities in pursing educational access across the board.  Before Bernie started with Summer Search, she was involved with a number of nonprofits as a Senior Manager, namely Youth Enrichment Services where she was able to help deepen the impact of young people while they explored they great outdoors and learned valuable skills around leadership development.  Bernie also worked as a consultant for Cambridge Public Schools where she was able to develop curriculum around Social Emotional Learning (SEL) education and how to support young people in/outside of their school environment.

Bernie holds a B. A. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and a M.S. in Criminology/Criminal Justice from Loyola University.  When not at the office, Bernie can be found outdoors with her two kids, husband and dog Chewbacca enjoying the sunshine.

Maria Farias

Program Operations Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Maria is passionate about helping individuals access opportunities...

 

Maria Farias

Position: Program Operations Coordinator
Email: mfarias@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Maria is passionate about helping individuals access opportunities and supports to help them realize their potential, reach their goals, and be successful in the future, however that looks to them.

Before joining Summer Search, Maria has followed her passion of guiding young people by teaching Spanish in the Boston Public Schools, working at various summer camps, managing out-of-school time programs, and most recently coordinating outreach and programming at a non-profit that focuses on outdoor experiences and leadership opportunities for Boston youth.

Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish with a Secondary Education Concentration from Assumption University (formerly Assumption College).

In her spare time, Maria enjoys traveling and exploring new places, and partaking in all things outdoors- especially snowboarding, skiing, and lounging on the beach.

Libby Magalhaes

Program Operations Coordinator

Libby believes that creating community and providing personal growth opportunities...

 

Libby Magalhaes

Position: Program Operations Coordinator
Email: emagalhaes@summersearch.org

Libby believes that creating community and providing personal growth opportunities for students is a significant piece of the puzzle in removing barriers to their overall success.

Prior to working at Summer Search, Libby worked at Catie’s Closet, a Massachusetts based non profit providing free clothing and toiletries to students in Boston Public Schools. Her experience at Catie’s Closet ignited her passion for supporting local Boston students through meaningful engagement. She also has experience in the field of educational travel with a focus on student travel groups.

Libby has a B.A in Sociology from Emmanuel College in Boston. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, practicing yoga, reading, taking care of her plants, and exploring the city.

Trixie Cortes

Program Manager

Pronouns: She/her/hers  Trixie has a passion for helping to improve...

 

Trixie Cortes

Position: Program Manager
Email: tcortes@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/her/hers 

Trixie has a passion for helping to improve the lives of others, especially those of young people through education and mentorship. Growing up in the Philippines, then moving to Chicago and attending public schools there, she found her way through a strong support network of teachers and administrators that became her close mentors. Trixie attended Denison University in Granville, OH and earned her BA in Anthropology/Sociology in 2018. She then became a tutor and mentor with City Year in Columbus, OH and Chicago, IL working closely with her 8th graders. She also provides direct care to a small group of homeless individuals in the greater Boston area through another non-profit organization. Outside of work, you can find her in the kitchen cooking tried and true dishes, or on a yoga mat trying to find inner peace. 

Gloria Namugaya

Development Manager

Pronouns: she/her/hers Gloria Namugaya was born and raised in Jinja,...

 

Gloria Namugaya

Position: Development Manager
Email: gnamugaya@summersearch.org

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Gloria Namugaya was born and raised in Jinja, Uganda, a small town best known for where the River Nile starts (Source of River Nile) in East Africa. She came to the U.S. as a grad student and, since then, decided to live in Massachusetts.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Law from Makerere University and a master’s degree in International Sustainable Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University.

She has over seven years of experience working and serving the nonprofit sector as a volunteer, fundraiser, organizer, activist, and director in the New England area.

Gloria is a firm believer in education equity and helping others – “I do find my deepest joys in helping others and the gifts of family.” She is passionate about social justice and always looking for creative strategies to match capital with opportunity in historically underserved communities.

In her free time, you will get her spending time with her husband and two toddlers, watching soccer, on a safari trip, traveling, visiting farmers markets with her toddlers, trying out new food recipes, or reading a memoir.

Julia Staron

Program Associate

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers Julia is passionate about college access and youth...

 

Julia Staron

Position: Program Associate
Email: jstaron@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Julia is passionate about college access and youth development, supporting young people to leverage their strengths and follow their own pathways. Growing up in an ROTC military family, she is especially conscientious of the challenges first generation students face and dedicated to providing insight and resources.

Prior to coming to Summer Search, Julia served as a college advisor for 4 years at KIPP Delta Public Schools in the rural Arkansas Delta. There she recognized the power of 1:1 mentoring and group work to support students through postsecondary milestones, as well as identity and social development. Additionally, she volunteered with the local Humane Society as a foster mom and shelter photographer. Julia is excited to be back on the east coast and serving Boston students.

Outside of work you can find Julia hiking or saltwater kayaking with her dog Sasha, cooking every meal of the day, and writing postcards to her friends and family scattered around the world.

Diane Joseph

Program Associate

Pronouns: she/her/hers Diane has been working with youth in the...

 

Diane Joseph

Position: Program Associate
Email: djoseph@summersearch.org

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Diane has been working with youth in the mental health field for over 7 years. Diane started in a residential setting, and then transitioned to a school setting. Prior to coming to Summer Search, she was a Therapeutic Mentor to youth ages 6-16. Diane is so excited to exclusively work with students in high school. She truly believe in the benefits of mentorship and the impacts it has on students during this crucial stage in their life. Diane is extremely passionate about supporting youth through self-exploration, cultural identity exploration, and social emotional learning.

Outside of work, she enjoys music and reading, although most of her free time is taken up by completing her degree in Business Administration/Nonprofit Management.

Madison Crosby

Post Secondary Program Coordinator

Madison believes that with the right resources, guidance, and support,...

 

Madison Crosby

Position: Post Secondary Program Coordinator
Email: mcrosby@summersearch.org

Madison believes that with the right resources, guidance, and support, every young person can thrive.

For 2 years, Madison served with College Advising Corps – Boston University (CAC-BU), an Americorps program. She was a College and Career Adviser at Charlestown High School in Boston Public Schools, providing postsecondary planning support to juniors and seniors. Through her experiences with CAC-BU, she fell in love with youth work and is excited to be able to continue empowering youth to achieve their goals at Summer Search.

Madison graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in International Relations. She recently received a Certificate in Community Leadership and Social Change through the Institute for Non-Profit Practice’s Community Fellows program.

Outside of work, Madison is passionate about food and loves to cook, bake, and try new restaurants. You can also find Madison attempting to create an unofficial personal ranking of every bubble tea shop in the Boston area.

Dominique Ellis

Program Associate

 

Dominique Ellis

Position: Program Associate
Email: dellis@summersearch.org