Although the fall 2012 semester at Franklin & Marshall College is more than seven months away, some members of the Class of 2016 are ready to begin their college careers today.
“When I take college preparatory classes, all I think about is F&M,” says Marvin Nicoleau, a Miami resident who will enroll at F&M in August. “I think about the rigorous, hands-on courses that are offered at Franklin & Marshall and the intense research projects that I will enjoy doing. I want to graduate now, and go to F&M.”
Nicoleau and nine other students from Miami will enroll here next fall as a result of the College’s new partnership with the Posse Foundation. Together, F&M and Posse recruited high-performing students from underrepresented groups interested in careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) to form F&M’s first Science Posse—and only the third in the United States. Miami becomes the College’s second Posse city, along with New York, where F&M has been successfully educating Posse Scholars since 2005.
The 10 incoming F&M students on Jan. 7 joined 42 other Posse Scholars going to other colleges from Miami to celebrate their selection as Posse Scholars. Several representatives from the College attended the event in Miami, including President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., and Dean of the College Kent Trachte. Family members of Posse Scholars and F&M alumni also were in attendance.
“We’re here because we believe in Miami, a crucial American city at the crossroads of the global knowledge economy—a city that loves change, gets culture, and embraces education and economic development knowing that we can’t have one without the other,” President Porterfield said. “We’re here because we believe in the America of tomorrow—a future that will be better and more beautiful if we provide an empowering education to all students from all communities at all levels of learning, from Pre-K to the Ph.D.”
Professor of Chemistry Kenneth Hess, who recently became the mentor for the College’s STEM Posse from Miami, also attended the event on Jan. 7. Hess will coordinate a two-week summer immersion program for STEM Posse Scholars in June, and will continue in his current role as health professions adviser until the College hires a new adviser.
The College’s first STEM Posse includes Eduardo Alsina, Natasha Deloatch, Cristina Diez, Carolina Giraldo, Nicole Maurici, Nicoleau, Maria Patino, Amy Reyes, Cameron Rutledge and Tomilya Simmons.
“I visited F&M in November and was amazed by what I saw,” Giraldo says. “Being given the chance to work hands-on with professors and do research right off the bat is extremely important to me.”
The Miami students are excited about studying STEM fields in a liberal arts setting; several of them hope to become physicians, bench scientists or explore the mysteries of science in other ways. “Science is important to me because I am very passionate about medicine, research and the human body,” Alsina says. “My dream is to become a scientific researcher and find cures for deadly diseases.”
The incoming students met each other during the interview process with the Posse Foundation in late 2011. They have already begun to bond, creating a support system that will last throughout their years at F&M and beyond.
“I’ve never been that far away from my family for an extended period of time, but the support I will receive from my posse makes me feel so lucky,” Simmons says. “It’s like I’m leaving one family in Miami, and joining another when I get to F&M.”
The Posse Foundation partners with 38 colleges and universities to identify students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential and steer them to institutions committed to undergraduate success. In the year before the students start college, the foundation mentors the scholars in supportive, multicultural teams called “posses.” Colleges and universities have awarded more than $406 million in leadership scholarships to nearly 3,700 Posse Scholars since 1989.
- Chris Karlesky