Through the Student Lens – An inside view of Posse Scholar success

Kristopher Nunez ’24
Hometown: New York, NY
Major: Business / Concentration: Marketing

What is the community impact of our Posse Scholars? Check out one determined Posse member’s Wheaton journey, culminating with early graduation and a position at Google, as you take a look “Through the Student Lens.”

What is Posse and how did you get involved?

Posse is a foundation that partners with Wheaton. They identify and recruit 10 leader-focused individuals out of high school to receive a 4-year, full-tuition Wheaton scholarship with the greater purpose of enriching the campus. In my case, 9 other New York students and myself were selected out of 100s of nominations to receive the opportunity to attend Wheaton and live on campus without having to worry about the struggles of tuition. This allowed me to focus on amplifying my college experience while using my skills as a leader to make Wheaton a better place. 

How did Posse and Wheaton help shape your leadership experience and who (no need to provide names of specific people here for privacy reasons) and how have you mentored in turn, as a result?

Posse and Wheaton allowed me the resources to lead at a bigger scale. After what seemed like a never-ending quarantine with COVID, I lost my drive to lead and often found myself in the backseat instead of at the wheel early my first year of college.

Eventually, early on I was pushed by my mentors at Wheaton to try different clubs and organizations and see where I could find my path as a leader. Inspired by others in my Posse, I jumped back in to do just that. I found my seat at the table in multiple organizations and found communities within Wheaton that I felt like I could help grow and learn from, and also places where my voice felt heard and valued. I saw what worked well for a few organizations and what didn’t, and I made sure once I was in position to lead from executive levels that I was able to implement effective change.

Through Posse training and mentorship, I was able to navigate the ambiguity of leading a community and figured out how others can find value in what I’m able to offer. Through my leadership at Wheaton, I also learned it’s okay to lead from the backseat and allow those who have yet to drive/lead the opportunities to amplify their voices and flourish their value to the world as well.

You were co-president of TWAP House (Together We All Prosper), what do you think your leadership of this house means to its residents and students on campus?  

Well, I can only hope it served the same purpose it served me in my early years of Wheaton as a safe haven for not just men but for all people of color within our community.

Oftentimes, I could tell the house was an escape for students to fully be themselves and be motivated by others who looked just like them. The house and I wanted to create a space where BIPOC students could come be inspired by those older to lead, thrive academically, unlock career opportunities/mentorship, or simply just relax, joke around, and get their mind off work.

TWAP has always had a focus on the mental health of the BIPOC community and through different workshops and events we’ve hosted. We hope we created more safe spaces for BIPOC to feel and freely express themselves. We’ve supported students as they navigated academic probation issues, we’ve mentored students into career internships and have taught each other valuable cultural lessons that unite us all.

What other leadership roles have you held while at Wheaton or what other Wheaton experiences and achievements are you most proud of?

At Wheaton, I’ve been humbled to hold multiple leadership roles, some short term and some long. These include: Co-President/Marketing Liaison for TWAP House, Career Peer Advisor at Wheaton’s Career Services, Marketing Lead for Smudge Magazine (a FANTASTIC literary magazine for POC on campus), and Executive Marketing Lead for the Wheaton Social Impact Conference.

I’m proud that I made the Dean’s List in multiple semesters, landed multiple internships, am an ALPFA convention scholarship recipient, and graduated early with an Eliza Wheaton Honors.  

Can you speak to your efforts and any support you received from Wheaton that contributed to your graduating early and how you moved on to accept a role at Google?

After a mediocre year of grades in my first year, I wanted to really challenge myself. I told my major advisor, Professor C.C. Chapman and my Posse advisor, Professor Julie Searles that I wanted to graduate early. After some hesitancy to make sure I was making the best decision in my bandwidth, they supported me to the finish.

I explained that it was important to me to accomplish this goal and potentially save myself the cost of living at college for another semester. We had regular check-ins, class selection advising, and ongoing communication to ensure I had everything I needed to set myself up for success. We brainstormed strategies to improve my work in the classroom, and also set my career path up for an early post-grad.

As a result, I was able to take on three marketing internships during my time at Wheaton and start a full time role as an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Google as of April 2024, after graduating early. 

Kristopher is just one of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents, guardians, and families you are an integral part of our community. “Through the Student Lens” brings the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and the experiences they gain during their time here at Wheaton.