Philadelphia Leadership Directory
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Sylvia is motivated by the belief that all youth should have access to college regardless of their zip code, and is excited to serve this mission as the Executive Director of the Summer Search Philadelphia office.
Prior to joining Summer Search, Sylvia built an exemplary career in education and entrepreneurship. Sylvia started her real estate career with a start-up company, Taylor Properties, where she successfully negotiated and finalized construction, permanent and equity loans with private banks and government agencies to build and sell affordable, fee simple housing as well as commercial properties.
As Executive Director of the Museum of Afro American History in Boston and the Philadelphia chapter of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, she provided leadership on key strategic plans and implemented fundraising programs with staff and stakeholders, collaborated with the members of the media to promote the missions of these organizations, resulting in various articles, live television coverage and the creation of videos/films.
While as the director of the MAAH, the late Senator Edward Kennedy introduced her to First Lady Hilary Clinton. Senator Kennedy also invited her to witness the late President Nelson Mandela be presented with a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton. These profound experiences re-ignited her passion to work for organizations to alleviate poverty in this country.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of South Carolina and Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her hobbies include travel, biking, golfing, and reading tons of comic books, especially the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series!
Carmita, a Philadelphia native, experienced first-hand the disparities of educational attainment, financial stability, and support systems within the City of Brotherly Love. As a higher education professional with over 15 years of experience within academic and student affairs, she’s committed to advocating for student needs and championing access to educational opportunities in the Philadelphia Area.
Prior to joining Summer Search, Carmita served as the Director of Graduate Student Services at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. In this role, Carmita was responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of admissions, academic advising, program management and alumni relations. Carmita created a holistic approach to operationalize academic programming and student services; supporting the realities of students as they entered, moved through, and graduated from the university. Grappling with historically low admission rates from minority student applicants, Carmita created the Underrepresented Minority (URM) Scholarship fund which resulted in a more diverse student body and helped close the financial gap for students of color into LeBow College of Business MBA and Master’s programs.
For Carmita, joining the Summer Search Philadelphia team presents the opportunity to leverage her expertise within higher education to intentionally support young people of color to better prepare for their futures beyond high school.
Carmita earned her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Drexel University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Peirce College. As a first-generation graduate, Carmita credits Peirce College in providing a community for her to thrive as a student.
When she’s not indulging in a pint of ice cream or a great Philly restaurant, Carmita, is in her happy space tending to her flower garden or working on her latest DIY project.
Robert believes strongly in the importance of education and mentoring to achieve both professional and personal success. He is committed to equality and social justice, and knows Summer Search’s model of mentoring, summer experiential learning, and career and college support can create equity and lift students up so they can pursue their dreams.
Prior to coming to Summer Search, Robert was a Career Advisor for the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University where he advised master’s students on job search process, coordinated employer events, professional workshops, and managed the internship process for international students. Previously, Robert also worked at The University of Pennsylvania Career Services Office where he assisted advisors, managed career fairs and employer events, created career survey reports, supervised students, and oversaw the online recruiting system.
Robert completed his Master’s Degree in Higher Education at Drexel University and attained a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in journalism from the University of Scranton. While attending the University of Scranton, he worked in several departments including the offices of public relations, communication, alumni development, and summer camps and conferences. He has also been involved with mentoring programs focused on college access and success.
In his free time, Robert enjoys reading books, watching movies and TV shows, traveling, going to restaurants, and walking his two dogs, Buddy and Logan.
Carlos supports the idea that everyone is a teacher and a student simultaneously. He believes in untapped potential that sits inside every individual and lives to see people achieve their truth by overcoming their fears. He is passionate about cultural exchanges and believes that diversity makes the collective stronger.
Carlos understands well the process of adaptability because as a kid he moved often – immigrating to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2006.
Carlos graduated from Temple University. During his university years he was involved with the Boys and Girls Club of America and worked closely with the immigrant community of El Paso, TX. His thirst for learning about other cultures encouraged him to join the Peace Corps. This was an opportunity for him to live and work in a foreign country, put into practice the skills he had learned in prior years and bring back new strategies to the developing communities of Philadelphia.
During his free time he likes to paint, code and polish his Sign Language skills.
Annie holds the strong belief that equal access to opportunities within education is a key lever to addressing the many inequities in our country, and she is honored to be contributing to the great work of Summer Search on the development team.
Annie is an entrepreneurial leader who recently transitioned to nonprofit management when she moved to the Philadelphia area in 2015. As the sole manager of programs for the Philadelphia office of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), she contributed to tripling the number of partner schools, strengthening the professional development and support of teachers and increasing their volunteer base by 50 percent.
Formerly, she spent nearly a decade in schools-based roles. Her can-do spirit has helped to found or turn around three middle schools and one high school in her tenure as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and district leader.
Annie attained her Master of Education from Christian Brothers University while in her first years teaching middle school science in Memphis, TN. She also has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an experiential summer trip to the Chesapeake Bay as a middle schooler is what instilled in her a deep passion for the environment and environmental justice issues.
When not at work, Annie is an avid reader, Philadelphia restaurant frequenter and considers walking her two dogs, Eddie and Nala, an acceptable form of exercise.
Tolulope’s passion, obsession, and ambition is to empower underserved youth to be the best version of themselves. Ultimately, what drives Tolulope is helping youth be what people said they couldn’t. Tolulope hopes to bring a unique background of engaging youth in various roles: mentor, coach, and advocate to Summer Search.
Before Summer Search, Tolulope served as a Heinz Fellow for the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Heinz Fellowship placed ten recent African American college graduates in high-needs high schools in the Pittsburgh school district to serve as mentors, tutors and role models for high school African American males. Along with working at a school full-time, Tolulope pursued graduate studies and received a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University in 2015.
Tolulope, a Questbridge Scholar received a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College in 2013. Tolulope likes to spend his free time coaching a middle school track and field team, playing chess, and debating about why every single New York City sports team is the best.
Aurora subscribes to the philosophy that everyone deserves access to high quality education regardless of their background. Having grown up in an underserved community herself, Aurora has seen firsthand the difference that access to a quality education can make, and how difficult that access is to attain. This knowledge grew into a passion which led Aurora to work as a mentor at Summer Search.
Aurora graduated from La Salle University with a B.A. in Art History and a double minor in Philosophy and English. During her time at La Salle, Aurora spent two years working at the La Salle University Art Museum, where she worked closely with school groups from several Philadelphia School District schools. It was during this time that she developed her passion for working with Philadelphia youth and learned the value of exposing young people to new and different opportunities. Because of this, Aurora went on to spend the next three years in the education field as a teacher in various roles before joining the Summer Search team.
During her free time, Aurora can be found reading or writing books, doing her nails or makeup, or binge watching her favorite animes.
Sydney believes in the power of mentoring and support systems. She is grounded by the belief that with the help of effective mentoring students can become aware of their potential and take power over their lives and decisions. She is motivated by the philosophy of living well and living intentionally. She understands the impact of giving students a chance to see things outside of their neighborhoods and how that helps students become aware of how limitless this world is. She is a firm believer in pursuing your passion and believes that students do not have to put themselves in a box and can carve out a lane for themselves.
Sydney graduated from Delaware State University with a B.A. in Integrated Studies with focus areas in Education and Psychology. While attending DSU she became a mentor to incoming freshman and completed 2 study abroad trips, these experiences are what fuel her outlook on life today. Sydney worked as support staff for the School District of Philadelphia before landing a job at Summer Search and is currently working towards a M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology at Anderson University.
In her free time she enjoys traveling, planning events and watching documentaries.
Muffy is inspired by the light within every individual and allowing it the space to shine at its full potential. She is invested in values of accessibility, expression, and justice. Muffy believes in the power of community and how every person, no matter their background, has something beautiful to offer. Learning and unlearning, they find the principles of Summer Search heavily aligned with their own.
Muffy has a B.A. in Political Science, with minors in economics and communication, from La Salle University. During their time in college, they invested their passion in resistance, service, and mentoring via AmeriCorps. Through an unconventional path, she took a hiatus from school to work on the US-Mexico border in El Paso,TX, where she worked alongside undocumented families and shaped an entirely different perspective. After returning and earning her degree, she has devoted her life to the communities she belongs to.
With a camera or paintbrush in her hand, Muffy is always trying to envision a new world, filled with kindness and lots of color!
Orneno Wright-Threats (She/Her/Hers).
Orneno (pronounced O-nay-no) is passionate about working with youth and believes in the power that young people have to transform their world, especially when they have access to life-changing experiences and adults that are invested in their personal development. She has worked in youth development and education for over a decade and has held many roles including after-school program facilitator, mentor, writing workshop instructor, and career coach. In Mbube, a Nigerian language, Orneno’s name means happiness and joy, and that is the energy she strives to bring to all her interactions with students.
Orneno graduated from Grambling State University with her B.A. in Mass Communications and from Rosemont College with her M.A. in Publishing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to podcasts, visiting museums, and binge watching the latest Netflix show. She is a Chicago native who has lived in the Philadelphia area for over a decade.