The Posse Foundation awarded scholarships to five NOVA veterans and celebrated their achievements during a reception on March 17 at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Annandale Campus. Veterans Nataly DeFreitas, Brian Lepak, Taylor Mauney, Mitchell Motlagh and Karla Rosas competed with hundreds of other veterans across the country in a three-step interview process, securing five of 30 available spots.
“This is one of the most important things happening at NOVA, and I’m so thrilled for our students and for NOVA’s partnership with the Posse Foundation,” said President Scott Ralls. “These students will go far and we’re grateful to everyone involved in this including our instructors here at NOVA.”
“We’re honoring some of our veteran students, so this is a special day,” said Acting Provost Charlotte Calobrisi. “We thank these students for their service and we’re very proud. We appreciate the partnership with Posse and what you do for our students.”
Annandale Veterans Counselor Audra Morris said this is the Posse Foundation’s second year presenting at NOVA. Each year, NOVA students excel and are awarded more scholarships than other colleges and universities in the country.
“For both years I have promoted this event before, NOVA has had the distinction of having the highest number of scholarship recipients of any institution in the United States,” Morris said. “It is a fantastic program that has been changing lives for over 25 years and I am so blown away by the impact the foundation has had in the lives of so many students who were not privileged, but had enormous potential to achieve.”
Ileana Casellas-Katz with the Posse Foundation said NOVA has set a precedent for how the organization would like to work with other community colleges in the country to provide opportunities for high school students and veterans.
“I can’t say thank you enough to NOVA and everyone involved in this partnership,” Casellas-Katz said. “To me this is the model of working with a community college. We’re pleased to have you representing NOVA, veterans, Posse and your respective institutions.”
The Posse Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify, recruit and train students from all over the United States. These students typically hail from diverse backgrounds and are often overlooked by traditional university recruiting methods and metrics. Selected candidates form a multicultural team, called a “Posse,” and attend an intense orientation to prepare them for enrollment at top-tier universities across the nation.
In 2012, the Posse Foundation tweaked its dynamic recruitment and application process specifically for veterans for their new Veterans Initiative. The first Veterans Posse began at Vassar College, with new Posse students at Weslayan and Dartmouth soon following. Over the next five years, Posse intends to triple their network and place Posse veterans in over one dozen top-tier schools.
DeFreitas, Mauney and Rosas will attend Dartmouth College, Lepak will attend Vassar College and Motlagh will attend Wesleyan University.