Our Story

Irv Epstein in lab

“For breakthroughs to occur, someone has to look at the petri dish a little differently.” – Irv Epstein

In 2006, Irv Epstein, Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, won a highly competitive, million-dollar grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to establish a program at Brandeis specifically designed to attract and retain talented, underrepresented students in college-level science.

The program aimed to combine the academic strengths of Brandeis, a leading private research university, with those of the Posse Foundation and its remarkable record of identifying and training students of all backgrounds for success.  

Founded in 1989 by Deborah Bial ’87, the Posse Foundation identifies public high-school students with exceptional academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Each group of 10 students becomes a supportive “posse,” and together, they attend one of the foundation’s partner colleges or universities on four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.

Epstein decided to adapt the Posse model specifically for New York City high-school students with an aptitude for science. The first Science Posse of 10 students arrived on campus in fall 2008. Each Brandeis Science Posse Scholar is interested in majoring in a science, completes a two-week intensive “science boot camp,” and enrolls in introductory science and math courses in the first year of study.