In 1989, Debra Biel established the POSSE Foundation, which recruits students from 10 urban areas including, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area. The foundation selects students who show extraordinary academic and leadership potential to attend 4-year colleges and universities as multicultural teams or POSSEs of 10 students. Tulane has been a POSSE partner since 2009 when the first cohort of POSSE students arrived on campus from Los Angeles. Tulane University served as a partner in creating the POSSE Foundation’s New Orleans Chapter.

In 2012 Tulane welcomed its first POSSE New Orleans cohort to campus. Today, Tulane University welcomes 2 cohorts of POSSE Scholars, one from New Orleans and one from Los Angeles each academic year. Tulane’s POSSE scholars have achieved a number accolades during their time at Tulane and have gone on to careers in law, public health, architecture, and business.

Specialty Programs

PossePlus Retreat

Every year, the Center for Academic Equity, in collaboration with the Posse Foundation, facilitates an annual weekend-long PossePlus Retreat. This retreat is attended by our Posse Scholars and selected Tulane faculty and administration with the goal of discussing an important campus issue identified by Posse Scholars.

Posse Scholar Graduation

Celebrate your graduation with CAE and your Posse cohort at a private ceremony. 

Posse Mentors

Sienna Abdulahad

Sienna headshotSienna Abdulahad serves as the mentor for Posse LA 11. She is a scholar, activist, and practitioner focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Abdulahad holds an M.A.Ed. in Education from Virginia Tech and a B.S. in Marketing & Management from Siena College. Abdulahad has served as a campus leader for over a decade, working with diverse groups of college students inside and outside the classroom. She strives to impact students’ lives by exposing them to various theories and practices grounded in Black feminist thought. In her previous role as Director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Tulane, she worked to secure increased funding and staffing support to serve all Tulane students across multiple campus locations. Additionally, she worked with Housing and Residence Life to establish the 1963 Collective, a residential learning community focused on the African Diaspora, and secured funding from the Title IX office to launch My Sister’s Keeper, providing holistic support and community for women of color at Tulane. She also assessed and redesigned the Community Engagement Advocates program in collaboration with the Center for Public Service to provide a more comprehensive, accessible, and engaging experience for participants, student facilitators, community partners, and other stakeholders. This included establishing an equity, diversity, and inclusion workshop for first-year students and developing a cohort of graduate student Community Engagement Advocates. Lastly, she is the co-author of The Table: Stories from Black Women in Student Affairs and hosts the Faculty Fridays Podcast, which focuses on shifting the narrative on research with faculty doing work relevant to communities of color.

T.R. Johnson

TR Johnson headshotT. R. Johnson serves as the mentor for Posse LA 12. He is a Professor of English and Weiss Presidential Fellow. He has taught at the University of New Orleans, Boston University, and the University of Louisville, and has been teaching at Tulane since 2004. He is the author of The Other Side of Pedagogy: Lacan’s Four Discourses and the Development of the Student Writer (2014), and A Rhetoric of Pleasure: Prose Style and Today’s Composition Classroom (2003); he is the editor of New Orleans: A Literary History (2019). His current work-in-progress, a book called New Orleans: A Writer’s City, will be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2023. Since 2001, he has hosted a contemporary jazz radio program in New Orleans at WWOZ 90.7 FM.


Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond

Sienna headshotKatherine Kleinpeter Raymond serves as the mentor for Posse - LA 13. She is a professor of practice and co-director of undergraduate studies in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department, teaching such courses as Statics, Mechanics of Materials, service learnings for Product and Experimental Design and Team Design, and the senior capstone Team Design course. She also holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Tulane University’s former School of Engineering, researching high-performance concrete bridge girders. Her interest is in blending mechanics with medical innovation and service opportunities to allow students a unique approach to learning. Katherine co-directs Biomedical Innovation for Global Impact (BIG Impact), which involves undergraduates in global experiences designing to improve healthcare in low-resource communities.

Erick Valentine

headshotErick Valentine serves as the mentor for Posse LA 14. He is a Professor of Practice and the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Freeman School of Business at Tulane. Professor teaches managerial accounting in the undergraduate program. He received his PhD from the University of Memphis. His research focuses on managerial decision making in ambiguous environments and accounting pedagogy. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Valentine worked as a cost accountant for IBM and 3M. He holds a master's degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Jackson State University.

Jenny Mercein

Jenny Mercein HeadshotJenny Mercein will serve as the mentor for the incoming Posse LA 15 scholars. She is an actor, teacher, director, producer, and writer currently living in New Orleans, where she is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She's been at Tulane since 2016. She is a proud co-creator and producer of Roleplay, a live theatre performance, and documentary film project exploring student perspectives on love, sex, power, and consent. Jenny obtained her B.A. from Yale and her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Washington.

Carolyn Barber Pierre

Erica Valenzuela headshotCarolyn Barber-Pierre serves as the mentor for Posse NOLA 8. She is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Multicultural Affairs. Carolyn attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Masters of Arts in Education (‘79) in College Student Personnel and a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Findlay (’77). Carolyn has more than 40 years of professional experience in the field of higher education, diversity and inclusion and has served in her current position since 2000 during her 34 years at Tulane. Carolyn with her husband Curtis Pierre, co-founded the group, Casa Samba, a local traditional Brazilian Drum & Dance troupe that has been teaching and performing in the greater New Orleans for more than 30 years. Additionally, she is an adjunct instructor in the Dance Department. She is passionate about sports, music, dance and spending time with family.

MeMe Goodwin

 headshotMeonyez Goodwin serves as the mentor for Posse NOLA 9. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and received a Bachelor's degree in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from The College of Wooster. After receiving her degree, Meonyez moved to New Orleans where she worked as a trainer at a local non-profit, The Posse Foundation Inc., which focuses on youth development and education access. During her time as a trainer, she mentored students, facilitated workshops on social issues, and provided academic support to the scholars at Case Western Reserve University and The University of Notre Dame.

Rosie Yates

Erica Valenzuela headshotRosie Yates serves as the mentor for Posse-NOLA 10. She is the Assistant Director for First-Year Experience and has been at Tulane since 2017. She has worked on TIDES, TIDES Peer Mentors, NTC Reading Project, Residential Faculty Mentors, NTC Intern program, and other collaborative initiatives. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Elon University, a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University, and a M.A. in Liberal Arts from Tulane University.

La'Tesha Hinton

Sienna headshotLa' Tesha serves as the mentor for Posse NOLA 7 & 11. She is a the Director of Community Engagement and Health Equity for Campus Health and a Certified Health Education Specialist.. On a daily basis, she interacts and connects one-on-one with students (and their families) to discuss various health topics to support their academic success and enhance their ability to optimally thrive at Tulane. La' Tesha completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at Xavier University of Louisiana. She received her Master of Science in Public Health degree in Tropical Medicine concentrating in Parasitology from Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant at The Well when she attended Tulane and that's when she fell in love with college health promotion.

Will Ferbos

Will Ferbos HeadshotWill Ferbos will serve as the mentor to the incoming Posse NOLA 12 scholars. He is the associate vice president for Institutional Affairs and deputy chief of staff to the president at Tulane University. In this capacity, he serves as an advisor to the President, implements a variety of presidential initiatives, functions as the department’s primary liaison with students, and advances several campus-wide efforts including the Presidential Commission on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, sexual violence prevention and response, the EDI Initiative Fund, and many more. He also assists with leading the transformational, once-in-a-generation, expansion of Tulane’s downtown campus by working across the University as the administrative liaison for the coordinating working groups.

CAE Resources
For Posse Mentors