On the 20th anniversary of Bryn Mawr’s association with the Posse Foundation, two Mawrters talk about the power of the partnership.
Kerlyne Jean ’11
Bryn Mawr and the Posse Foundation were a natural fit for me. They empowered me to be a leader throughout all aspects of my life. And I learned how important it is to give back so that others have the same opportunities.
I began at Bryn Mawr on the pre-med track with the long-standing goal of being a pediatrician and working for Doctors Without Borders. But Bryn Mawr opened my perspective and encouraged me to explore my passions in a broader way. Through the major selection process, I learned about medical anthropology and global health, and professors like Melissa Pashigian made me realize that there was more to my goal and a larger passion beyond medicine. By senior year, I stopped checking the boxes for what I thought was success and began defining it for myself. Bryn Mawr helped me to get there.
The Bryn Mawr/Posse partnership nurtured the leader in me. In high school, I was involved in the community and some group activities but never in a leadership position. My pre-campus training with the Posse Program taught me effective leadership, facilitation and EQ skills that prepared me to excel as a leader when I arrived on campus, where there were endless opportunities. I was very involved —Customs at Pem West, hall advisor at Pem East hall advisor, dorm president at Perry House, from secretary to treasurer for The Sisterhood, BACaSO vice president, to a member of the Bi-Co dance group called Dancing under the Influence. I was also involved in The Teaching and Learning Initiative and a supervisor in the Haffner Dining Hall. It was as if Bryn Mawr opened its arms and said, “What do you want to do, KJ? Just do it!” And I loved it!
So Bryn Mawr and Posse, together, worked well for me. Today, I’m a health advisory manager at PwC and serve on several nonprofit boards. I believe I’ve excelled in my career because of the leadership skills nurtured by Bryn Mawr and Posse—they are what is typically highlighted in my performance reviews. After graduation, I worked with Annie’s mom at Children’s Hospital. She asked me to mentor Annie, and I was thrilled when she was nominated for the Posse Program and ultimately chose Bryn Mawr.
Ann Tran ’18
In high school, I was nominated for the Posse STEM Program, which recruits students for the STEM fields and provides training and support while we are in college. Bryn Mawr was one choice on the list of Posse STEM partners.
Honestly, I was worried about going to a women’s college. Then I met Kerlyne. My mom described her as “remarkable, very sharp, knowledgeable, and thoughtful.” I met KJ for lunch one day and was blown away. I was inspired by her transition from pre-med to public policy and public health. She credited Bryn Mawr for giving her the space and time for that transition by putting women at the apex of learning, and she didn’t seem to miss the coed space.
Plus, she had a wide network of contacts because of Bryn Mawr’s consortia with Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania. I remember thinking what a privilege it would be to also graduate from Bryn Mawr College.
I have never regretted choosing Bryn Mawr. Before we arrived on campus, the Posse Foundation immersed us in leadership training, STEM programming, and Bryn Mawr’s academic expectations. We became very close and have remained so ever since.
Since graduating, I’ve realized that most of my peers don’t know authors like Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, and other feminists. It’s alien language to a lot of people, but everyday conversation at Erdman Brunch.
That’s the beauty of Bryn Mawr—it’s a place where everyone craves critical discourse. And it gave me a consciousness about my “footprint” on Earth, a sense of personal responsibility to the larger community.
At work, I find myself starting conversations about social injustice and self-advocacy. It can be scary to address those kinds of issues, but I have a burning need to raise them when I can. That comes from Bryn Mawr.