• A student wearing a college shirt

      Minal Saldivar wearing her POSSE scholarship college sweatshirt (Photo – Scott Phelps)

      Minal Saldivar, a Blair High School Senior, has been awarded a full-tuition scholarship through the Posse Foundation. In Fall 2023, she will join the 19th Posse for Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

      By Scott Phelps

      Minal was nominated by Liz Jackman, Associate Direct of the Caltech Y where Minal has been in Caltech’s RISE math tutoring program since 8th grade.

      The interview process

      The interview process for the scholarship was rigorous. After submitting her application in the summer, Minal was contacted in August by Posse Los Angeles for her first interview, in the POSSE Foundation office in downtown LA. Overall, more than 2,000 Los Angeles students went through the first interview on different days.

      Minal was called back for a second in-person interview that was conducted with a POSSE staff member and a recent POSSE grad.  She was asked about her leadership in the community, about her application and about her list of accomplishments. Minal was nervous. “I wasn’t expecting to hear from them that I had made it to the third round,” she said “They told me to keep an eye out for communications.”

      In late October Minal was a finalist for Dickinson College in the third and final round of interviews. “For this round, they match you with one of the nine Posse schools with which they place LA students,” she said. In the final round, which was a meeting with all finalists and their families, Minal and her mother learned that as a condition of acceptance, she would have to dedicate one evening a week during spring semester as a senior to attend weekly trainings and get to know the mentor support system,

      The final in person interview in December was more formal, Minal said. “It was kind of like the first interview in that there was the group of 20 finalists, but this time the Dickinson admissions team was also there.”

      The fabulous news

      After her final interview on December 5, 2022, Minal went out to dinner with her parents In Highland Park. Posse had told her that she would hear by mid-December whether she was accepted. At 8:30 that evening, she received a text from a Posse staff member inviting her to jump on a Zoom call for a follow-up question. As soon as Minal signed on, the first question she was asked was: “Do you have a warm coat?” That was how she knew she was accepted in the program!

      In January, Minal attended an induction ceremony with 88 other LA Posse members. She also met the other nine Posse students who will attend Dickinson with her in the Fall, one of whom is at Muir High School. She will be seeing the other Posse students each week during the spring semester at weekly two-hour meetings at Posse’s LA office. Overall, five PUSD students were accepted in the program this year: Two from Blair, two from Marshall, and one from Muir.

      Minal said, “It still feels surreal. I haven’t even processed that I will be moving across the country. I am very glad for the support system. I am excited to get to know everyone more and to start studying in college.”

      Minal’s Parents

      Minal’s mom, Sehba, who facilitates PUSD’s High School Leadership Think Tank, flew from Pakistan to Massachusetts when she was 19.  She came by herself to go to college, and she wasn’t the first member of her family to do that. Other members in her family have studied abroad. This is a family that does  well in school and gets scholarships.

      Minal’s Dad, René Saldivar (who serves as a Coordinator in PUSD’s Special Education department), said, “I am blown away. I am beyond happy, overjoyed, proud and happy for her. It’s been a challenging few years under COVID. She has come back strong, and to be awarded this scholarship is a triumph for her.  I am grateful to all the Blair teachers, the district, and all the PUSD partners.”

      Minal:  “I am too.”

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      1. Margaret Hope says:

        Congratulations on this outstanding accomplishment.

      2. Tamara Eden says:

        Congrats to her! Posse is HARD to get, and super competitive. I have a couple of students who have received it. They had to do an interview with 100 other candidates, and then they keep narrowing it down from there. It’s wonderful that she earned this!

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