Posse Scholars

PPR 2023

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.

LA Posse Mentors

Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond

Professor of Practice & Co-director of Undergraduate Studies, Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department


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.

Meonyez Goodwin

Senior Program Coordinator of Mentor & Co-hort Programs, The Center for Academic Equity

Meonyez Goodwin headshot

Meonyez Goodwin serves as the mentor for Posse LA 14. 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.

Jenny Mercein

Associate Professor, Department Theatre & Dance

Jenny Mercein

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.

Shira Hussain

Academic Counselor, Office of Undergarduate Education, Freeman School of Business

Shira Hussain Headshot

Shira Hussain serves as the mentor for POSSE-LA 16. She is an Academic Counselor
in the Office of Undergraduate Education at the Freeman School of Business. Her joy
stems from interactions with young adults, and she feels blessed to be able to share her
talents with the Tulane community. She has an extensive background in education that
includes serving as a Trainer for POSSE-NOLA, a Program Manager for Crimestoppers
GNO’s Teen Ambassadors Against Crime program and a college prep instructor for
Tulane University’s Upward Bound program. She holds a B.A. in Communication
Studies and Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans and a M.A. in Leadership
Studies from Augsburg University.

NOLA Posse Mentors

Rosie Yates

Director, Office of Academic Enrichment

Rosie Yates serves as the mentor for Posse-NOLA 10. She is the Director of the Office of Academic Enrichment 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

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Campus Health

La' Tesha Hinton Headshot 2

La' Tesha serves as the mentor for Posse NOLA 7 & 11. She is the Director of Strategic Initiatives 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

Vice President, Institutional Affairs; Deputy Chief of Staff to the University President

Will Ferbos

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.

Whittney L. Smith

Student Success Advisor, School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine

Whittney Smith Headshot

Whittney is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana but just recently moved back home from the North Georgia area. She has worked in higher education for almost eight years and has a passion for working with at-risk, first generation, low-income, and nontraditional students. Whittney received her Bachelor’s from Loyola University New Orleans in Political Science/Legal Studies and her Master’s from Southern New Hampshire University in Higher Education Administration. Whittney has an extensive background in TRIO programs such as Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and the Ronald E. McNair program. Her advising experience with both undergraduate and graduate students has allowed her to cultivate relationships both in New Orleans and Georgia over the years. Her ultimate goal is to help students evolve both academically and socially. Outside of work, Whittney enjoys trying new restaurants, watching movies, and visiting family when she can. She hopes to be able to make a lasting impression on the students and their academic journeys thus far.