College presidents at STEM conference.
College presidents Dan Porterfield of Franklin & Marshall College, Paula Johnson of Wellesley College and John Simon of Lehigh University spoke on a panel with University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel (not pictured).

Posse STEM Conference Explores Diversity

Winter 2018 | National

On February 6, college presidents, corporate leaders, foundation representatives and other members of the Posse community gathered to discuss solutions for increasing the number and diversity of STEM graduates and professionals.

The day-long conference, entitled "Diversity + STEM = X: Solving the Equation for Higher Education and the Workforce," celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Posse STEM Program, which identifies, trains and supports students from diverse backgrounds interested in majoring in STEM.

Infor sponsored the event, which took place at their headquarters in New York City. Additional support for the conference and the Posse STEM Program came from Deloitte, the Altman Foundation, the Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.

The first STEM Posse matriculated at Brandeis University in 2008. Today, the list of STEM Program partners has grown to include 11 top colleges and universities: Brandeis University, Bryn Mawr College, Davidson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Smith College, Texas A&M University, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wellesley College.

The individual and collective successes of Posse STEM students were featured throughout the day. Scholars and alumni in attendance were joined by presidents of Posse’s partner colleges, including Brandeis University President Ronald Leibowitz, Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy, Davidson College President Carol Quillen, Franklin & Marshall College President Dan Porterfield, Lafayette College President Alison Byerly, Lehigh University President John Simon, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel and Wellesley College President Paula Johnson.

"Wellesley knows diverse experiences, backgrounds and ideas make colleges stronger; the same is true of the STEM fields where more diversity is needed," said Wellesley College President Paula Johnson. "How valuable to discuss this and The Posse Foundation’s crucial role."

Other guests and speakers included representatives from NASA, Infor, MIT, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, and the Business-Higher Education Forum.