Group of the Posse 4 Scholars posing for a photo and holding up four fingers each
CWRU's fourth class of Posse Scholars

Meet the fourth class of Posse Scholars at CWRU

Starting college can be a stressful experience and a financial burden for many under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic. But for 10 first-year Case Western Reserve University students, a built-in support system has helped ease the transition to college life. 

This fall, the university welcomed the fourth class of Posse Scholars from New Orleans, all of whom receive full-tuition scholarships, leadership development opportunities, a faculty advisor to help them navigate their college experience and opportunities to engage with one another.

The Posse Scholars program is sponsored by the Posse Foundation, an organization founded in 1989 that aims to improve college access for students of diverse backgrounds. Rooted in the idea that having a strong support system will help students succeed, the foundation has partnerships with 60 universities and colleges across the country and chapters in 10 cities. 

Case Western Reserve University announced a partnership with the foundation in 2017, with the first group of students arriving on campus in the fall of 2018, many of whom are now set to graduate in the spring. 

“Posse has a long track record of identifying students with outstanding leadership abilities and supporting the development of these leaders in college. When former trustee and now Interim President, Scott Cowen, suggested that we consider a partnership with Posse, we explored the opportunity and thought it would be a great fit for CWRU,” said Rick Bischoff, vice president of enrollment management.

This year’s class is being mentored by David Miller, associate professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

While this class of students’ introduction to the college experience has been anything but typical (with some of them remaining at home and others living on campus), we checked in with this year’s Posse Scholars during their first semester at CWRU. They reflected on virtual learning and what it means to be part of a group of fellow students going through the same experience.

Read their insights below.

“I’m hoping that I as I attend CWRU, I am elevated into the person I am destined to become.”
Jaylon Cruse, business management and marketing

“I wanted [to attend] a top tier college, and Posse was the only way for me to achieve that goal. I couldn’t afford it without Posse.”
Bernice Eads, psychology and nutrition

“Posse has opened doors to many resources that I have never thought of: being able to attend such a competitive school with a full tuition leadership scholarship, having mentors and older Posse Scholars on campus that help us in anything.”
Amy Gao, biology

“Posse has given me the opportunity to pursue a great education and connected me with a whole world of astounding people. I am grateful that I get the opportunity to represent Posse and my family here at CWRU.”
Miguel Alejandro Garcia Valdez, aerospace engineering

“I feel surrounded by a community of young leaders who can support and uplift me. All of the previous Posse’s have been in my position before so they can empathize with me and form a common bond.”
I’Maya Gibbs, theater and history

“Posse has given me such a strong support system that I am tremendously grateful for having.”
Allison Hernandez, economics and political science

“This semester has been very different. Although I wish it were a normal year, I’ve still gotten to experience a little bit of the college life. I’ve met amazing people and have a great support system.”
Michelle Lobo, nursing

“My plans for the future mainly revolve on going to medical school, and I believe Posse can provide me with many opportunities in order to reach that goal, such as providing us with Dr. Miller, our incredible mentor. We also get lots of help from the previous Posse groups, which I think is something not every freshman has the opportunity to do.”
Aaron Marin, pre-med track with undecided major

“Originally I had my heart set on CWRU for awhile, but I also had two or three other colleges in mind, but once I was selected, it was clear what college I was supposed to attend.”
Dontrel Mitchell, business

“Even though we are not all in the same place right now, having students from New Orleans has helped me to feel less isolated this semester. I know that there are at least 10 other people I can talk to if ever need to.”
Kayla Red, anthropology and international studies