About Us

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to help students increase their self-awareness so they can make decisions about college selection, academic majors, and careers that reflect their personal vision for success.

OUR STORY

Summer Springboard was founded to give college-bound teens a supportive environment where they can explore their personal and academic passions. Our innovative pre-college summer programs, offered at some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, combines the benefits of an academically challenging summer experience with tools and frameworks for personal leadership development and self-discovery.

Leveraging the years of success enjoyed by our sister organizations, Global Leadership Adventures and Discover Corps. Summer Springboard aims to continue the tradition of providing unique and compelling summer experiences for college-bound teens as they look to grow, expand and impact their communities. We ensure student well-being using our 5-Point Safety System and top tier university partners.

The Summer Springboard leadership team brings together diverse backgrounds spanning several decades. Our goal is to use our decades of experience in areas such as service learning, education, international travel, media, and program operations to create the most impactful domestic summer enrichment programs for college-bound teens.

We are proudly based in San Diego, California.

 

About our Founder – Andrew Motiwalla

After college, Andrew served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. His overseas volunteer experience ignited a passion to share that experience with others, and he became vice president at a non-profit international volunteer organization where he set up volunteer operations in 14 countries around the world. Later, he did brief stints with a couple of tech start-up companies and also started two of his own ventures. He returned to his passion for experiential education by founding Terra Education and personally launched Global Leadership Adventures, Discover Corps, and Summer Springboard. Andrew is a graduate of Lawrence University and has done graduate studies in non-profit management at New School University in New York City. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Leadership Team

Eva Strausberg

Director of Programs

Eva is a Southern California native but has spent many years living and working in Boston and Italy. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University and an M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. After grad school, her time in Florence led to a career designing and directing academic and study abroad programs in both the U.S. and abroad. Her previous work at Harvard University, Sarah Lawrence, and various English for Speakers of Other Languages programs reflect her belief in the value of cross-cultural education, respecting diversity, and hands-on learning experiences. When not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with family.

Kevin Khy

Director of Admissions and Marketing

A California native, Kevin is the Director of Admissions at Summer Springboard. Kevin has worked in the high school student education and travel industry for 15 years. He has worked with thousands of teens in international and university settings and is has a passion for experiential learning. Kevin holds a Bachelor's degree from Cal Poly Pomona in Political Science, and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. His experience with educational programs for teens, a passion for personal development and a desire to help young people succeed led him to joining the Summer Springboard team.

Maria Balmaseda

Director of Operations and Risk Management

Maria was born and raised in a small town in Toledo, Spain. Her passion for discovering new places brought her first to Madrid, where she earned a degree in chemical engineering. The allure of Madrid's big city vibe captured her attention and offered her the opportunity to volunteer which launched her passion for international travel and adventure. This love of travel sparked her to move to New York City to continue her studies. She since fell in love in the United States and moved to California. Maria completed her MBA at San Diego State University.

Anna Graham - Staff Accountant - Summer Springboard

Anna Graham-Meyer

Staff Accountant

Anna grew up in San Diego, California. She attended San Diego Mesa Community College and took classes in multiple fields trying to find a career she enjoyed. Due to her love of numbers she followed her passion into the field of Accounting. She went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from the University of Lynchburg with a degree in Accounting. She wishes she had found a program such as Summer Springboard when she was in high school to have given her direction earlier in life. In her free time she enjoys traveling, the beach, soccer, Gaelic football, learning Spanish, and tutoring youth in mathematics.

Layni Pistone

Admissions Manager | Program Director

Raised on the west coast, Layni went to college in the east coast and graduated with a major in Psychology from Bay Path University. She has spent the past eight years working with students in a variety of settings, ranging from leading student programs in Costa Rica to working in Admissions and Student Success while helping families plan for college abroad semesters. These experiences have solidified her passion for helping students identify their goals and next steps in education. Layni recently moved to Colorado, where she spends her time hiking, climbing and trying her hand at various arts and crafts.

Renae Pink

Program Director

Renae was born in Jamaica but lived half her life in Westchester County, NY. She received her B.S. in Criminal Justice and her MPA in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport. After graduating, Renae worked in various roles in higher education, such as an Admissions Advisor, Instructor, and Residence Hall Director. She is passionate about helping students reach their full potential by creating a fun and educational environment while handling and facilitating leadership and personal development opportunities. Renae is the current Campus Director for the N.Y. and Georgetown program, a role she also held last summer.

Ryan Farrell

Ryan Farrell

Program Director

A New England native, Ryan grew up in Avon, CT and earned his B.S. in Accounting with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Central Connecticut State University. After graduating, he worked in Student Affairs at various higher education institutions as a Residence Hall Director, supporting high-school seniors transition and adjust to campus living and college life as a whole. Ryan brings to Summer Springboard his valuable experience guiding students along their path to college. Outside of Summer Springboard, Ryan is an avid aviation enthusiast, recently earning his Private Pilot Certificate and working towards advancing his ratings further.

Claudine Jones

Program Director

Claudine is a first-generation Latinx-American who was raised in Michigan and has spent most of her life in California (Bay Area and San Diego). She received her B.S. in Merchandising Management and Design from Michigan State University and received her Masters in Professional Accounting with honors from Colorado State University. With over 25 years of professional experience, Claudine has spent the last 9 years working with students while serving as a public school board member for a K-12 school district. Prior to that, she worked as an accounting contractor for a bioscience startup. She was also a web producer for Yahoo! Inc. in Yahoo! Shopping and worked for 11 years as a merchandiser at Gap, Inc. One of Claudine's many passions is to find ways for students to be immersed in their interests in college and potential careers. While working in the school district, she made Career Technical Education a priority because she saw firsthand how important it was for students to meet and network with professionals to learn more about emerging academic majors and jobs in their fields of interest. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband and two kids, baking, running, sewing, and caring for her 13-year-old chihuahua, Radar.

Chiara Thomas

Program Director

Chiara was born in the United States and raised in Italy. She speaks Italian and English fluently and has a great passion for both travel and education. She visited more than 30 countries before the age of 30, began teaching at the age of 20 and has not left the academic world since. She dedicated the past twelve years to teaching overseas, whilst pursuing her B.S. in ESL and special needs instruction. She has supported students of all ages throughout their studies in multiple settings, including high school programs, organizing student group trips abroad, and directing ESL summer programs in multiple universities across the US and the UK. She is passionate about helping each student thrive and reach their personal goals, as well as find their most suitable academic path. When Chiara is not working she is volunteering, travelling with her family, and scuba diving.

Diana Castillo Alcala

Admissions Coordinator

Born and raised in Oregon, Diana graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology. She always dreamed of studying abroad in college but didn't know how to get started or who to go to for help. After exploring different options, Diana was able to study abroad in England and complete her senior capstone project in Spain. During her time abroad she was able to travel to seven countries and visit more than 25 cities. These experiences inspired Diana to help students pursue their goals. Since then, she's had the chance to connect with many students and families and has helped them figure out their next steps in higher education. In her free time, Diana enjoys reading, trying out new hobbies, and trying new foods.

Lexington Hewitt-Park

Admissions Coordinator

Lexi finished her Bachelor of Science in Public Management and Policy with a minor in Adolescence, Community, and Education from the University of Arizona. As a college freshman her intention was to be a teacher, but after learning more about education policy, she was able to weave her interests of social justice and education together. She has experience working on different summer programs across the world. In the summer of 2017, she traveled to Prague as a camp aide for an English as a Second Language program. The following year she worked on staff at a teen summer program in Appalachian Mountains. Her hope as an admissions coordinator is to bring a diverse group of students together on all our campuses. When Lexi is not working on admissions she enjoys going to the gym, walking her dog, and watching college basketball.

Jorge Cortez Jr.

Admissions Coordinator

Born and raised in southern California, Jorge attended the University of California Riverside where he graduated with a bachelors in political science. Initially wanting to work in the space of social justice, Jorge realized his passion for youth empowerment while working at a summer program in 2018 and has been working with youth and students since then. After working multiple summer programs and spending some time as a substitute teacher for Los Angeles Unified, Jorge is now a full time admissions coordinator for Summer Springboard. In his free time he enjoys making music, taking pictures, attending sports games throughout the Los Angeles area, and more often than not you can find him eating pupusas!

Marissa Floyd

Admissions Coordinator

Marissa is deeply passionate about education and travel. Born in Detroit, raised in Colorado, and fond of cultural immersion she has lived in Costa Rica, Spain, and Mexico over the past 6 years. Marissa has a Doctorate in Communication, Culture, and Identity and boasts 12 years teaching with public and private universities. She loves the diversity of the college experience and has taught the full range of courses from first-year seminars, to senior capstones, to service-learning and internships. Marissa brings her knowledge and experience to SSB with the desire to help guide and support future undergrads to fully embrace and successfully navigate their college career and beyond. In her personal time, Marissa enjoys traveling with her family, skateboarding, and watching Detroit sports.

Mercy Nwamara

Support Specialist

Born and raised in Nigeria, Mercy earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan with honours. Fueled by the desire for personal development and to effect positive change in the society, she volunteered for societies such as Junior Chamber International where she worked with the Executive Vice President to organise training sessions and help coordinate national conventions. She also volunteered in Fame Initiative where she was a member of the Programs and Logistics Unit and taught high school students within the ages 13-17 about leadership and how to be the best versions of themselves for a period of 6-8 weeks per session. She later became an Administrative Assistant at Quantum Leap Consulting - an organisation that specializes in talk therapy for marriage and individual counselling sessions. She is currently the Support Specialist at Summer Springboard and intends to use her experience to ensure the programs are the right fit for the students.

Program Staff

Our program staff are passionate about our student’s success; in college and beyond. They’ve been selected for their experience, deep passion for teaching, industry expertise, and student commitment. Many of our staff have intimate knowledge of our campus locations, adding to our ability to host students safely. All staff are certified in CPR and First Aid, and also trained in our 5-Point Safety System to ensure that issues are addressed efficiently and safely.

Campus Director


Every campus is run by a Campus Director. These are adult professionals with extensive experience working with teens, and they all hold a B.A. or M.A. degree.

Directors are selected for their expertise in the field of personal development and undergo background checks and rigorous training before the summer. The Campus Director oversees the team of Resident Advisors and also facilitates the delivery of the Springboard Leadership Personal Framework.

Resident Advisors


Our Resident Advisors are the heart and soul of our program; they bring energy and inspiration to every student experience. They are selected for their experience working with youth, understanding of leadership theory, and dynamic personalities. All RAs undergo background checks and training on the unique needs of teenagers. RAs live in single rooms on the same floor with students.

Dianne Nolan - Campus Director


Diane Nolan

Dianne Nolan is an accomplished leader, educator, coach and mentor with a passion for guiding high school students to achieve their goals. A former basketball coach for Yale University, Dianne graduated from Rowan University where she was a four-sport student-athlete. She earned her Masters degree in Political and Corporate Communications from Fairfield University. She has served as a college basketball coach at Lafayette College, Yale University, Fairfield University, and St. Francis College and holds a career record of 500+ victories, with 100% graduation rate of all her student-athletes. She has a proven ability to inspire young people to maximize their own potential while working within a team environment to reach a common goal.

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Summer Springboard Pre-College Summer Program