Training the next generation of leaders

Posse Scholarship helps Jones students into top colleges

Graphic+by+Fiona+Kogan+%2722

Graphic by Fiona Kogan ’22

Every year, a number of Jones students are admitted to top colleges through the Posse Scholarship program.

The program provides scholars who are “high-achieving” leaders in their high schools or communities and passionate about teamwork and diversity with mentorship programs and full-ride scholarships to top universities. R’riyon Draine ‘21 is a Posse Scholar who will be attending Cornell University this coming fall. She is the vice president of Minority Students of Impact and Black Student Union. 

These leadership roles caught the attention of her counselor, which is where her journey with the Posse Program began.

“I received an email from my counselor at the end of my junior year because he thought Posse could be a good option for me,” Draine said.

Once she decided she was interested in the scholarship program, Draine said she needed to be nominated for it.

“I’d been in Northwestern Academy, a program started by Northwestern University, that works with diverse and academically strong high school students since my freshman year of high school,” said Draine. “My mentor from the program agreed to nominate me for Posse.”

Then, Draine went to her first interview with the scholarship program.

“There were about 100 applicants in the room, and Posse had us write an essay in a certain amount of time, and then there was a discussion where they asked questions about the basics of who you are,” Draine said.

She found out a while later that she was invited to the second round of interviews.

“These interviews were one-on-one, and they really got into your personal interests and what you are about,” said Draine. “Right after, you ranked the schools that Posse is partnered with depending on which ones you liked.”

Draine was then informed that she had become a finalist and that her first choice, Cornell University, was showing interest in her.

“Committing to being a finalist is a big decision, though, because it’s an Early Decision application,” Draine said. “If you get into the college you’re a finalist for, then you have to go.”

In the end, Draine was accepted to Cornell after a final interview. She is set to begin pre-college training at the start of February.

“Posse offers weekly lessons on how to deal with race on college campuses and how to be a responsible student before they send you off to school,” said Draine. “I’m also going to college with 10 other scholars, and having that support so I don’t feel alone is invaluable to me.”

Even outside of college, the Posse Scholarship will be helping students like Tenzin Kunsang ‘21 in the job market to ensure their success. 

“They have many connections with different organizations and companies, so when you’re looking for a job, many companies have spots reserved for Posse students specifically because they know that Posse students are really bold and communicative leaders,” said Kunsang. 

As for what that job would be, Kunsang wants to pursue a pre-med track at Cornell University, and with Posse and Cornell, has found a path to that dream.

 “Cornell has a really good biology program and I’m interested in majoring in biology and society,” said Kunsang “I’ve always been interested in integrating science and humanities, and I thought that major was the perfect fit.”

 She said her choice of Cornell was fitting, as it was the only Posse-partnered college to have exactly the major she was looking for. As for the future, Kunsang knows she has a pillar of support through this scholarship. 

“Since I want to be a physician I have to go to med school, but thankfully Posse is there to help me along the way,” said Kunsang.

Students involved in the Posse program can succeed even if they don’t earn the scholarship. Zora Beaty ‘21 was nominated for the Posse Scholarship but did not make it past the initial round of interviews.

She said she was immediately drawn to Posse because of its mission and the many resources offered to scholars.

“I loved that the program was developing diverse, change-making leaders because the world is definitely lacking in those,” said Beaty. “And, even though I didn’t earn the Posse Scholarship, the program still connected me with many other scholarship opportunities, which was super helpful as I applied to colleges.”