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Wesleyan Welcomes Second Cohort of Posse Veteran Scholars

The newly accepted class of Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars. Also shown are Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Pictured are the newly accepted Class of 2019 Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars from the Class of 2018. Also shown are, second from left, Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; fifth from left, John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and, far right, Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Wesleyan has accepted a second cohort of Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars into the Class of 2019. The group, which includes three women and seven men, come from all over the United States, and have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Italy, South Korea and Germany. Seven served in the Army, one in the Marine Corps, one in the Air Force, and one in the Connecticut Army National Guard.

The group’s faculty mentor will be Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

In 2013, Wesleyan became only the second institution, after Vassar, to partner with the Posse Foundation in a new program to recruit veterans to top-tier colleges and universities, where they receive full scholarships. Read more about the partnership in this story. The first “posse” of students entered Wesleyan in fall 2014. Meet them here.

“Our second Posse Vets cohort brings an even more diverse and eclectic group of veterans to Wesleyan,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer. “What continues to impress me is the unshakeable confidence that is backed by academic rigor and a deep sense of duty each of the vets brings to their educational journey.”

The first group of Posse vets “have set a high bar in terms of academic performance and community engagement, so we’re looking forward to welcoming the next cohort and watching them thrive,” he said.

Farias added that he’s grateful to the faculty who have volunteered to serve as mentors to these students, as well as the tireless staff that help ensure the transition from the military to a liberal arts college is successful.

“We’re thrilled that Giulio Gallarotti has been selected as the faculty mentor. Giulio brings a deep empathetic understanding of how to integrate and help different types of students excel at Wes, which makes him an ideal mentor.”

Posse Scholar Foley ’18 Recipient of Quilt of Valor

Kyle Foley '18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She's pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak.

Pictured sixth from left, Kyle Foley ’18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She’s pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The quilt pattern is sawtooth star blocks representing the American Flag. The center eagles represent patriotism.

For her six years of service to the nation, Afghanistan veteran Kyle Foley ’18, a Posse Scholar at Wesleyan, received a quilt from the local Quilts of Valor Foundation during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Since 2003, Quilts of Valor have become a national community service effort to bring the home front to wounded soldiers and to honor returning Veterans. Quilts of Valor members pay tribute to those who have been touched by war by giving them a symbol of comforting and healing.

During her six years in the Navy, Foley was a Seabee, specifically a construction mechanic, and was attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4. Within the battalion she worked as a mechanic on both construction equipment and combat vehicles, and also served as a fire team leader, squad leader, and 240Bravo gunner, at different times.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

On Foley’s second deployment, she served as the lead mechanic on a detachment to Camp Marmal Afghanistan. At that time, she was the first female mechanic during her tenure to be put in charge of the mechanical shop of a detachment. At the end of her second deployment she re-enlisted to “cross-rate,” or change her job. She cross trained at Corps school in Great Lakes, Ill., and became a Hospital Corpsman (Navy Medic).

After she had finished training she was re-assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she worked as a general medic, one of the hospital’s three primary phlebotomists, a command mentor — mentoring foru junior personnel — and as a command fitness leader, and as a member of the auxiliary security forces team. Foley also volunteered as the strength and conditioning coach for a women’s lacrosse team at a local high school.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The  scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Foley, 29, ended her service Oct. 9, 2012 and enrolled at Wesleyan in fall 2014 as a result of the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. Posse Foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top tier universities.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek and Professor of Classics, a mentor for Foley, recommended her as a candidate for a Quilt of Valor.

Students enrolled in a quilting class at Middletown Adult Education and The Quilting Queens, a club in East Hartford, came together to sew patriotic star blocks for the Quilts of Valor. Under the direction of Deborah Sierpinski, instructor at Middletown Adult Education and administrative assistant at Wesleyan, the talented group of women pieced the red, white and blue quilt top.

The Emblem Club, an organization that celebrates Americanism, donated funds toward the cost of the quilt. Representatives from Wesleyan, Middletown Adult Education, the Emblem Club, and the Quilts of Valor Foundation attended the ceremony to pay tribute to Foley.

Staff, Students, Posse Fellows Thank Local Veterans for their Service

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Wesleyan staff and students visited the Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. Shown are (back row) Hanhee Song ’17, Andrew Olivieri ’18, Royce Ebenal ’18, Rilwan Babajide ’16. (front row) Hiram Brett (chaplain intern from Yale Divinity School), Shada Sinclair ’16, Carol Ann Cellela (VA chaplain), University Protestant Chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska, Sarah Dawes ’18, Lydia Ottaviano ’17, Claire Wright ’16, Catherine Alvarado ’16, Olivia Chavez ’15, Raquel Ibarra ’16, Scarlett Harris ’16, and Chukwuemeka Uwakaneme ’16.

On Nov. 9, a group of Wesleyan staff and students visited the Veterans’ Home in Rocky Hill, Conn. They participated in an interfaith service and the singing of patriotic songs in honor of Veterans Day. They also distributed certificates of appreciation to the veterans.

“The engaged and caring students showed the veterans, the oldest of which was 100 years old, such incredible compassion and respect,” said Tracy Mehr-Muska, the university Protestant chaplain. “I was so proud of our students and was incredibly glad that they took advantage of this opportunity to thank the veterans for their service during this special visit.”

Among the students were two Posse Veteran Scholars: Andrew Olivieri ’18 and Royce Ebenal ’18. Mehr-Muska also is a veteran.

Veterans Join Class of 2018, Tour Campus

Wesleyan's Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan's Class of 2018. 

Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan’s Class of 2018.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years. Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, stressed that the Veterans Posse Program seeks to recruit veterans “who have tremendous leadership potential to go out into the workforce and become major contributors” in whatever field they pursue. While typical college freshmen are 18 years old and straight out of high school, the average veteran entering college is in his/ her late 20s or early 30s, and has spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq.