Summer Mentoring Special

«Limited Enrollment: Apply Today»

This 8-week 1:1 mentoring opportunity—offered by EK founder, Ashley David, MFA/PhD—is structured around a student-initiated project and focuses on holistic, immediate, and lasting results in three areas:

  1. Thinking: analytical and creative
  2. Communication: written and verbal
  3. Confidence: empowerment, accountability, and autonomy

Students shape their projects according to their interests, priorities, and needs. Options range the gamut from the uber practical and targeted to the super experimental and exploratory.

To give you a taste, past students have created projects around burning questions related to:

    • personal statements for college applications,
    • ekphrastic poems and poetry writing,
    • essay writing (personal and writing for college),
    • fort-building,
    • world religions,
    • black holes, 
    • Shakespeare’s plays,
    • diversity, inclusion, and social justice,
    • making strong presentations,
    • dancers of color and the history of ballet,
    • writing flash fiction and short stories,
    • economic/social/environmental sustainability,
    • expanding circles and talking to adults,
    • personal finance and entrepreneurship, 
    • being introverted in an extroverted culture,
    • consciousness, intelligence, and anthropocentrism,
    • slime and other ooey-gooey treats and tricks.

Instruction is…

  • Personalized and specialized
  • Research-based, using methods that have been field-tested and proven effective
  • Tailored to support each participant-family 
  • Potentially ongoing, with select mentoring slots available at summer’s end for long-term support

Passionate and personally meaningful student engagement that yields measurable results at session’s end, lays the groundwork for ongoing empowered student success, accountability, and autonomy.

About the Mentor


Ashley David, MFA/PhD has lived and worked on four continents in fields as diverse as higher education, K-12 education, tech, financial services, marketing, diversity & inclusion, sail training and oceanographic research, filmmaking, and art.

She has earned degrees from Stanford University, New York University, University of Michigan, and The University of Georgia, and she combines research with social and creative practices as Exquisite Knowing to explore and solve for questions related to social, economic, and environmental sustainability in terms of mutual and reciprocal community-making and micro-empowerment.

Poetry, prose, and project-based art have appeared in publications including: Web Conjunctions, Hyperallergic, The Offending Adam, Black Sun Lit, Alimentum, The Greensboro Review, Hanging Loose, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, The Southern Review, Verse, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Scholarship has been anthologized, and she has performed and installed work in locations across the U.S. and overseas.

I love supporting families and mentoring kids, who will make a difference in the world as exceptional adults empowered to chart authentic lives.

—Ashley David

What clients are saying…

We came to know Ashley when she tutored [our daughter] for a year in middle school. The topic was ostensibly World Religions, but [our daughter] ended up learning so much from Ashley that it is difficult to try to classify it all in just one topic. So I would like to simply emphasize what a special person Ashley is—I have never seen such a diverse and creative combination of talents in one person—published poet, writer, academic, teacher, counselor—she was responsible for getting [our daughter] interested in so many different subjects, from Indian religions to questions about sexism in literature, and so much more.  She also has that rare ability to truly connect with adolescents at times when they might not be connecting with other adults.

—Rebecca A. Ranninger
Chief Human Resources Officer & Executive Vice President (ret.),
Symantec Corporation

Application Process

In order to ensure a great experience for all participant-families, enrollment is limited, and we invest in a targeted application process. 

  1. Application: Click here to complete the introductory application. 
  2. Parent/guardian interview: Once we receive the application, we’ll contact you to schedule a 30-minute initial consultation.
  3. Student interview: Schedule a 30-minute targeted consultation to identify opportunities.
  4. Document review: We’ll review any relevant materials identified in the consultations—writing samples, evaluations, etc.
  5. Schedule Summer Session: If the fit is right for everyone, we’ll collaborate with you to set mutual priorities and schedule your session.

Selection Criteria

It’s a bit of an art to create the summer session roster, and these are the criteria we use:

  • mutual compatibility: a good fit is key
  • student engagement, passion, need: relevance and potential are strong motivators and indicators of successful collaborations
  • challenge: both mentor and mentee benefit from collaborative problem-solving and exploration
  • balance: to guarantee your family is well served, Ashley balances her client roster holistically. Even though mentoring is 1:1, she evaluates the applicant pool, and selects the session participants with an eye on catalyzing the most potential for collective success. This approach has many advantages, including paving the way for possible group collaborations and community events in the future.

Ideal Applicants

Exquisite Knowing mentoring tackles a combination of enrichment and remediation challenges holistically for greatest “whole-person” benefit. Ashley especially loves working with: 

  • Students in transition: geographically; socially; and/or from elementary to middle school, middle to high school, or high school to college 
  • Introverts, outsiders, and other “different” and unique humans
  • Precocious, gifted, talented, misunderstood, underachieving, and/or inadequately challenged students who would benefit from unique, personalized mentorship

Students entering 4th grade through the 1st year of college (ages 9+) are eligible, and participants may elect to meet 1x or 2x per week for a total of 8 or 16 sessions during the months of June, July, and August. 

Fee Structure

Pricing is adapted from an Exquisite Knowing tool called EKonomy. This community-making tool is neighborhood responsive and works by creating a system of gift-exchange that is equitably empowering, accessible to all, and fiscally viable.

Core Concepts
  1. Current participants are sponsored by prior participants—a “pay it forward” approach.
  2. Participants choose to sponsor the next participant at a level that fits their capacity and priorities.
  3. Community-making frames and messaging guide participant choices, and together we pass on the wealth.
Sample Guide

Choose your level according to financial capacity inflected by personal priorities. 

  • Participate:  I bring myself and more! (</= $75/hr)
  • Sustain:  I can help sustain this gift-exchange economy. ($100/hr)
  • Thrive:  I want to make sure this opportunity thrives. ($125/hr)
  • Grow:  I want our community to grow. ($150/hr)
  • Catalyze:  I want everyone to be able to access these tools and services. (>/= $175/hr)

For additional community-building, current clients will receive gift credits for successful referrals.