Summer is originally from Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, Spanish, and women's studies. She was selected as a Rotary Peace Fellow and completed her Master’s in international studies: peace and conflict resolution at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia in 2012. Summer has over 10 years of experience in international development, focusing her career and academic studies on trade, commodity value chains and small-scale producers. She is committed to raising awareness about the structural violence, and therefore conflict, that occurs when people are unable to meet their basic needs and provide for their families. Summer is specifically passionate about coffee, 70% of which is produced by small-scale farmers and is the second-most traded commodity after oil. Summer is the co-founder of True Roots Consulting and is currently based in Oaxaca, Mexico. True Roots offers value chain development, project management, and monitoring and evaluation services for social projects in Latin American coffee-farming communities and beyond.
Summer has traveled and lived in 30 countries and is fluent in Spanish. She is the author of two published articles about fair trade and small-scale producers: “‘Comercio con Justicia’ and Theory in Action at a Guatemalan Women’s Textile Cooperative” in Democracy Works: Joining Theory and Action to Foster Global Change (2008) and “‘Women Who Needed to Earn a Living Yesterday’: Challenging the Global Economy Through Home-Based Labor” in Women at Work (2010).