Summer Search is a national college success organization that works to close the opportunity gap for low-income students with high potential by helping transform what they believe is possible. As an alumnus of the Summer Search program, I have been giving back my time and skills as a member of the Bay Area Alumni Board where I am in my second year as the chair. Our main purpose is the find how we can reengage the alumni community with Summer Search and extend the benefits of being an alumnus past college.

Group Picture from the Summer Search Alumni Board Retreat

At a Glance





Alumni Board Interviews

Prior to the workshop, I conducted 1-hour interviews with all 10 members of the 2015 - 2016 alumni board cohort to learn about their perspectives and inform our thinking about the needs of our workshop.

Quick Findings

Organizing the Workshop

I met with Molly to discuss the findings from the interviews and how we would start heading in that direction in an organic way. We wanted to insure that the Alumni Board maintained autonomy by organically generating ideas as opposed to be directed by internal Summer Search staff leadership.

Afterwards, we met with Summer Search staff to compile any data (background info, quantitative data, and qualitative data) about the Summer Search alumni community for board members. This data was important for giving all of our members, particularly newer members, enough context before entering our workshop.

Molly and I decided to take the following approach for the workshop.

Diagram displaying workshop approach



Chart with ideas and dot voting Another chart with ideas and dot voting
Charts with outputs from both Opening and Exploring sections. Dot voting was used to narrow down to a smaller range of ideas to focus on.


A project plan laid out Another project plan laid out
Two examples of high-level project plans.

Key Learnings and Outcomes

The entire workshop was conducted in one day and has provided us a strong sense of direction. Bringing in design methodologies to the Alumni Board allowed us to build consensus and bring in voices that otherwise may have not been otherwise heard. This year has been successful thus far, some highlights include…