Changing the face of leadership

Puget Sound is committed to making college accessible to all talented and deserving students in order to live higher education's highest purpose: the preparation of leaders. In 2016-17 we welcomed our first cohort of Posse Scholars and celebrated 25 years of the Access Program's Summer Academic Challenge.


Amy Gerdes and Isabel Mejia Natividad '20Preparing Tacoma Students for College

"I met Isabel when she was 13 and a student in the Summer Academic Challenge, a tuition-free math and science enrichment program for local students from underserved public schools to enhance college readiness. She told me that she was going to go to college, and today, not only is she a sophomore at Puget Sound, she's also a teaching assistant in the program. Isabel is a hardworking and dedicated student, and an impressive teacher and leader in her community. She serves as an advocate for girls' education and has shown many young women over the years how to be smart and strong in any situation."

Amy Gerdes, teacher, Summer Academic Challenge
(pictured with Isabel Mejia Natividad '20)



Building a More Inclusive Campus Community

Juan Molero '20

"University of Puget Sound is an amazing place, but I believe I can make it even better. As a Posse scholar, my role is to represent those who may not have been represented in the past, to be a voice for change for those who have gone unheard. Posse prepared us for challenging conversations with people from different backgrounds. We learned to confront issues of race and ethnicity, but also to understand where others are coming from. By bringing together multiple perspectives and generating conversation around these issues, we can create solutions that benefit everyone." 

Juan Molero '20, Posse Scholar

Posse at Puget Sound

University of Puget Sound has partnered with The Posse Foundation, a national nonprofit organization committed to expanding the recruitment of outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds. Posse identifies high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes and places them in supportive, multicultural teams—"posses"—of 10 students at top-tier colleges. Scholars are awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships. Nearly 75 percent of Puget Sound's Posse Scholars, like Juan Molero '20, are the first in their families to attend college. The initial program costs were covered by generous donations and the support of Puget Sound's board of trustees. 

Learn more about the Posse program in the fall issue of Arches.

Listen to Posse Scholar, Simone Moore '20, and Sam Carp '17 reflect on their experience at last year's Posse Plus Retreat.

Access Programs

In partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, University of Puget Sound created Access Programs to offer traditionally underrepresented students in middle and high schools opportunities to prepare for college. Through interaction with Puget Sound students and professors, visits to campus and participation in community events and activities like Summer Academic Challenge, students like Isabel Mejia Natividad '20 gain confidence in their abilities and become ready to pursue their academic goals. 

This summer, students participated in the international Zero Robotics tournament, programming robots to grab objects in space. Read more about the competition, and watch a video of the robots in space.