ABOUT SUMMER SEARCH
Summer Search is a 7-year mentorship program for promising students facing unjust obstacles. Students join the program in their Sophomore year of High School and are supported through College or other Post-Secondary pursuits.
We provide comprehensive support through one on one mentorship from trained staff, peer-led group mentorship , career development, goal setting, and adventurous summer experiences.
CONTACT SUMMER SEARCH
Supporting Young People
Voices of Summer Search 2018
Deer Hill Summer Experience
CEO, Dr. Mark Spencer
My name is Habtamu Kabeto. I was born and raised in Ethiopia; moved to the United States in 2013 with my family. I have been a Summer Search mentee throughout my high school and college.
I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Geography, Data Science. I am passionate to work with the youth and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to mentor at Summer Search, because I know how crucial it is to have a mentor of your own. There were many times I decided to give up on my education and dreams, but it was having someone that listed to me with no judgment that helped me get through those hard times. It is my intention and my goal to be there for the youth in times like that, so that they thrive beyond their obstacles. The youth is the future and the key to a better world.
In my free time, I enjoy learning and trying new things whether it is food or activity. I love biking, hiking, and technology besides spending quality time with my family.
“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution” – Huey P. Newton
Illegal, Queer, and disabled, Laith Ocean (They/Them) comes out of abolitionist Immigrant Rights and Trans/Queer Liberation Movements. Organizing since the age of 15, Laith Ocean is a first-generation graduate who attended to the Santa Rosa Junior College and transferred to UC Berkeley as a Spring transfer, earning a BS (Bachelor of Science) in Sociology. Collaborating with various communities experiencing criminalization and surviving violence, Laith Ocean is deeply dedicated to healing and transforming. Focusing on building and supporting youth as they envision, build, achieve, and transform, Laith Ocean hopes to build with youth to create fractal communities of interdependence, wellness, and excellence.
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.
Elijah is a first-generation Cape Verdean-American, being born in Boston and raised in the small town of Randolph, Massachusetts. Education has played an important role in his life, allowing him to develop a passion for mentorship and commitment to representation. He attended Boston College and graduated with a B.A in Communication and later attend Boston University to complete his Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
For the past few years, Elijah has worked with different non-profits, doing two years of Service as an Americorps member then moving on to work with the Upward Bound Program. Dedication to student mentorship, equity, and access are key motivators within Elijah’s professional career, and that is what makes his excited to be working with Summer Search
In his free time, you can find Elijah watching his favorite Sitcom “Community”, cheering on his Boston sports’ teams (he knows, he knows), immersing himself in his favorite music, playing his favorite Nintendo video games, and exploring his new community in Brooklyn.
Lakiya is a New York City native, who grew up in Harlem. She is a first-generation college graduate and received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, where she studied Psychology with a focus on child and adolescent development in urban environments.
Lakiya is very passionate and driven. Her personal and professional experiences gave birth to her belief that all young people, if given the right resources and proper guidance, have the power to overcome societal limits and create their own destinies. She has spent the majority of her career managing youth programs that were geared towards providing young people with educational equity, career opportunities, and exposure to life enhancing experiences. As a Post-Secondary Program Coordinator at Summer Search, she hopes to continue her mission of helping young people overcome obstacles and realize their full potentials.
Lakiya has a love for the arts, from written word, to visual, to culinary. In her free time, she enjoys visiting the many poetry clubs, art museums, and restaurants that the city has to offer. She is also an avid thrill seeker, who enjoys roller coasters, motor sports, tandem sky diving, and bungee jumping.