Ten Scholars from New York headed to Brandeis University in Massachusetts last fall as members of the first Science Posse, a specialized cohort dedicated to pursuing majors in science. Now in their second semester on campus they are excelling socially and academically—with a majority making the dean’s list.
Irving Epstein, a chemistry professor at Brandeis and the architect of this initiative, was awarded a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2006 to improve science education and increase interest in the field among underrepresented students. Having been provost of Brandeis at the onset of its partnership with The Posse Foundation more than 10 years ago and very familiar with Posse’s track record, Epstein collaborated with the Foundation to replicate its successful model and establish Science Posses.
“Through this unique Posse experience, Brandeis gains a much more diverse set of students in the sciences and is able to attract students who otherwise might not have come here,” says Epstein. “The Scholars’ eyes are opened to the many ways they can use an education in the sciences.”
Beyond their rigorous science curriculum and general coursework, members of Brandeis Science Posse 1 have also found time to participate in activities as wide-ranging as Bhangra dancing, volleyball and spoken word.
This summer, three Scholars will participate in competitive academic enrichment programs. Both Angel Garcia and Gloriya Nedler were accepted into the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program which has program sites at various institutions throughout the country. Angel will attend the program at Case Western University and Gloriya at Yale. Rebekah LaFontant will study at Tufts’ Summer Medical Research Program.
These trailblazing Scholars are undoubtedly paving the way for the next Posse, leaving big shoes to fill. Brandeis Science Posse 2 Scholars are currently in pre-collegiate training at Posse and will matriculate this fall.
Photo by Jorge Meyer for Howard Hughes Medical Institute