In a Westfield High School room packed full of computers, scholarship information and university materials, Holly Rabano and Rachel Ng sit at a corner table and page through their future. Rabano, a senior from Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, and Ng, who will graduate from Westfield, will be attending Texas A&M University this fall.
Although they study at different high schools, they have been brought together by their Posse Scholarships. Posse is a network of scholars and universities that award full four-year scholarships, sponsor mentoring and organize support groups for the selected students.
Rabano said that her father's experiences in civil engineering and architecture fueled her interest in a civil engineering major. While her scholarship will get her enrolled, she expects her posse to help keep her on track at Texas A&M.
"They select 10 students who best fit that school, and those students are supposed to stay together for four years. It's kind of like a support group and that's why they call it a posse," said Rabano.
The Posse network recruits students from 10 cities across the United States, and the selected students graduate from university at a rate of 90 percent. The students are nominated by their counselors at school, then, if they are chosen for consideration, they go through three rounds of interviews.
Ng said the months-long process is tough. "I just went in there, I tried to be myself and showcase what I can do," she said.
Ng is planning to major in nutrition, a subject that she became interested in when she moved here from Hong Kong in the ninth-grade and noticed the vast amounts of unhealthy foods that were widely available. "I originally got into this field because I have a passion for healthcare. I love caring for other people," she said.
Ng and Rabano are already meeting with the other eight members of their posse who will be attending A&M. There are weekly leadership and academic workshops where the group gets a chance to bond long before they walk into their first class at the College Station campus. Those meetings will keep the group together for the next four years.
Rabano remembers that as the selection process drew to a close, she kept her phone ringer turned up so she wouldn't miss a call from the selection committee.
"When I found out, I was really happy. I told my parents -- we were all really, really, really excited. I can't wait," said Rabano.
Posse was founded in 1989 and awards scholarships through 57 partner colleges and universities from across the country. Posse Houston selected 61 area scholars from about 1,200 nominees.