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.
T. 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
Katherine 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 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 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.
Meonyez 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 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 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 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.