Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

First STEM Posse Mentor

Excerpted from the January issue of F&M's The College Reporter:

Ten students from Miami have been chosen to take part in the College’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Posse program, which is an extension of the Posse Scholarship.

The Posse Scholarship pays for four years full tuition and is open to students of all backgrounds. The foundation operates out of New York and currently has organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. The foundation develops relationships with school guidance counselors, church leaders and civic leaders, who then nominate potential scholars at the beginning of their senior year. 

The Posse organization in Miami nominated 18 students for the STEM posse program at F&M this year. Members of the College conducted interviews on Dec. 15 to determine who would create the first STEM Posse group. From those 18 students, the College chose ten: seven women and three men. 

“The students were selected both for the strength of their secondary school records in science and for their leadership potential,” said Kent Trachte, dean of the College.

Trachte, Dan Porterfield, president of the College, and Ken Hess, mentor for the STEM scholars, traveled to Miami and held an awards ceremony to officially recognize the chosen scholars Jan. 7.

The College recently announced Hess would be the mentor for the STEM scholars. According to Trachte, the administration chose Hess for his past experiences as associate dean for health professions advising, as well as his role in a similar summer program. 

“One of the reasons [that we chose him], is that Professor Hess, for several years, taught the science portion of a program that we had called, ‘The Summer Program for Academic Excellence,’” Trachte said. “That program was also designed to support students from diverse backgrounds interested in the sciences.”

Hess is looking forward to meeting the students and teaching and learning from them.

“I am looking forward to meeting the students,” Hess said. “Although they will be learning from me, I know I will learn a tremendous amount from them as well. Each student has a background as a leader and I am sure they will make a positive impact on campus.”

Throughout the year, the students will participate in individualized advising sessions and group activities. Community service is an important aspect of Posse, and each student will participate in projects that serve Lancaster and the F&M community.  

Hess is optimistic about his new mentoring position and the future potential for undergraduate research working with the STEM Posse students.  

“F&M is a such a great place for undergraduate studies because the faculty is so supportive,” Hess said. “They are more than willing to allow students in their research, and that is such an important part of the F&M experience. Beyond the research labs, the small classes and house system really allow the students to meet others and develop personal relationships. Because the College is a liberal arts school, even the science students experience all the different types of classes that are offered and I think that is great. F&M is the third college to use the STEM program and the first liberal arts school to do so, and I think that shows what makes this school so special,” Hess said.