It may not seem that 20 students can make much of an impact, especially on a university as large as Texas A&M. But numbers can be deceiving, especially when it comes to the Posse Scholars due to arrive in Aggieland in the fall of 2013.
Texas A&M has entered into a partnership with the Posse Foundation, an organization that identifies, recruits and trains urban youth with exceptional leadership and academic potential and sends them to select institutions of higher education in multicultural teams — posses — of 10 students. A posse, or cohort, of inner-city students from Atlanta will attend Texas A&M next fall, along with another posse from the newly established Posse Houston, with Texas A&M as one of its first partner universities.
The Posse cohorts will comprise students majoring in the high-need STEM fields of science, technology, engineering or math.
“Texas A&M is truly honored to become one of the first partners of Posse Houston, and we look forward to welcoming the inaugural class of Posse Scholars to Aggieland,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin. “Both Texas A&M and the Posse Foundation share a similar goal of developing leaders of character, particularly those who come from diverse backgrounds. We see this partnership — developing talented students in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math — as a tangible extension of Texas A&M’s land-grant mission of serving our state and country.”
Texas A&M will be joining a group of approximately 40 of the nation’s most prestigious top-tier public and private universities including the universities of Southern California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, California-Berkeley, Bryn Mawr, Bucknell and Brandeis, all of which have had reported success with Posse Scholars.
Established and aptly named in 1989 when the organization’s founder overheard a student saying, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me,” the Posse Foundation has since selected 4,245 Posse Scholars who have been awarded close to $500 million in scholarships by partner universities.
The Posse Foundation has chapters in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and now Houston. Posse works to connect urban high school students with great potential — most of whom would have been overlooked by traditional admissions practices such as SAT scores — to outstanding postsecondary educational opportunities.
Candidates for this program are selected using a process based on criteria that are proven predictors of success in college. These characteristics include high intelligence, drive, talent, leadership, the ability to work well in teams and powerful communication skills.
Beyond their qualifications, these students also have a built-in advantage; they’re a posse. In other words, they train together, support each other and hold each other accountable throughout their years in college. As Posse Scholars say, “going to college knowing your posse is with you means knowing someone always has your back.”
Can 20 Posse Scholars really have an impact, especially at Texas A&M with a student population of nearly 50,000? The evidence from the Posse Foundation website indicates they can. Posse Scholars have built a well-established reputation as dynamic leaders who make a visible difference on campuses across the country, regardless of size. They are always counted among the top leaders in student organizations, in serving their campus and community, and in high academic achievement at every university they attend. And, they are persisting and graduating at a rate of 90 percent — well above the national average.
Posse recognizes the considerable challenges facing universities like Texas A&M that are committed to broadening educational access for underrepresented groups. Limited resources force public institutions to compete for diverse students from a finite pool of applicants who meet the traditional admissions criteria. Through a partnership with Posse, Texas A&M can expand the pool of qualified applicants and, in so doing, help realize the university’s most critical educational imperatives, university officials note.
“Texas A&M is committed to the concept that a diverse society requires diverse leadership, and Posse provides a strong, nationally acclaimed resource to help meet this need,” said Dr. Karan L. Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Texas A&M is looking forward to a long and rewarding partnership with Posse in which both the university and all future Posse Scholars reap tremendous benefits.”
According to Posse, by 2020 there will be more than 6,000 Posse alumni in leadership positions in the workforce. They will be doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists, lawyers, social workers and politicians. They will be sitting at tables where decisions are made, embodying the diverse backgrounds, interests and perspectives that characterize the American experience.
“It is good to know there will be Aggies among them, embodying the core values of Texas A&M, as well as those of the Posse Foundation,” added Loftin.
Media contact: Lynn Paris, News & Information Services at (979) 845-6746