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Deborah Bial’s Posse

By Angela Mendez

Section: Features

September 9, 2016

On Dec. 16, 2013, my parents shook me awake from a nap. They handed me the phone and I groggily grabbed it.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Is this Angela Mendez?”

“Yes, this is she.”

“Hello! We are currently calling from the Posse Foundation, and we are happy to announce you have been selected to become a Posse Scholar at Brandeis University!”

No words came out of my mouth. I stood there speechless for a good 30 seconds.

“Hello?” the representative from Posse said.

I finally was able to find words and yelled excitedly, “Oh my god! I got in! Mami, lo hice! Me dieron la beca!” Translated, I said, “Mami, I did it! I got the scholarship!”

My mom and dad could not believe it. They stood there crying, tears of happiness streaming down their faces. They called my brothers to come. I was a senior in high school and with that phone call, my hopes of attending college turn into a reality.

The Posse Foundation is a national non-profit organization that started in 1989 because of a single student who said, “I would have never dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.”

The president and founder of the organization, Deborah Bial, became inspired after hearing this. She thought that this idea of having a posse, a support network, could potentially help many students get through the hardships of college.

Fast forward to today and the Posse Foundation has identified, recruited and trained 6,993 public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership qualities to become Posse Scholars. These students have been able to receive yearly full tuition, leadership-based scholarships in a Posse’s partner college or university for their undergraduate careers.

Currently, Brandeis University has 80 Posse Scholars on campus. These students come from two different sites, Posse Atlanta and Posse New York. They major in a wide range of departments, including the sciences, humanities and arts. Posse Scholars help revolutionize the campus by being active, always striving to do their best and having incredible work ethics.

On Aug. 24, Bial paid a special visit to Brandeis. She is a class of 1987 alumna from Brandeis and wanted to take the time to meet the current Posse Scholars on campus. This is very special of her because not many presidents of organizations meet one-on-one with the people they help.

A small reception was held in the Faculty Club with lemonade and cookies. Though the event was located in a fancy spot on campus, the event was structured in a posse style because in the end, it felt like a family get-together. Everyone in the room sat in a circle and comfortably spoke to one another. Some recalled getting the famous Posse call, a special moment for all Posse Scholars in which they were notified that they received a scholarship to attend college.

Bial also made sure to not only give scholarly advice, but also to get Posse upperclassmen to give advice on the Brandeis life and community. She asked scholars to mention their favorite professors for the first-years.

While many names were mentioned, the first were those of professors Rebecca Torrey (MATH), Derron Wallace (SOC) and Susan Dibble (TA). Posse Scholars seemed to have a lot of respect for the Brandeis staff.

To finish off the meeting with Bial, everyone took a group picture to remember the wonderful meeting and event.

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