Spring 2016| Posse National Newsletter


Brandeis Prof., Administrator Champions STEM Program

Dr. Irving Epstein, the interim provost, senior vice president for academic affairs, and Henry F. Fischbach professor of chemistry at Brandeis University.

For 45 years Dr. Irving “Irv” Epstein has been teaching and training scientists at Brandeis University. His leadership as an educator and higher education administrator was instrumental in bringing Posse to the university in 1997. Ten years ago he helped successfully pilot a the Posse STEM Program that supports Scholars majoring in science, technology, engineering and math.

Irv, who received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, began his career in higher education at Brandeis as an assistant professor. Today he is the university’s interim provost, senior vice president for academic affairs, and the Henry F. Fischbach professor of chemistry. For a number of years he also served as the dean of arts and sciences and provost.

As Scholars thrived at Brandeis, Irv thought that Posse’s cohort model could benefit students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM majors. He contacted Posse President and Founder Deborah Bial to propose this idea. The result inspired the Posse STEM Program, which now recruits 100 Scholars per year for 10 colleges and universities.

“As a result of the achievements of Brandeis’ STEM Posse Scholars, student and faculty expectations of who can succeed in science have changed for the better, and the result has been that the diversity of science majors at Brandeis has increased well beyond the numbers just associated with Posse,” says Irv.

To date, Brandeis has recruited 21 New York Posses—nine of which are STEM —and six traditional Atlanta Posses.

“Not only does Brandeis support Scholars from two cities, but the Posse STEM Program serves Scholars from five cities at nine additional schools,” says Posse Chief Operating Officer Matthew Fasciano. “This partnership has been hugely influential on Posse’s national growth and success.”

View other stories in the Posse National Quarterly