Meet Our Student Admissions Representatives

Questions about what student life is really like? Our Student Admissions Representatives are happy to help! Our STARs are grouped by their areas of interest.

Juliana Dearr
Miami, Florida
High School: Coral Reef Senior High School
Year at New College: 4th year
Area of Interest: Anthropology

Bio: This year I have survived all the way into fourth year and my thesis project. I speak English quite well, and enjoy plowing through conversations in American Sign Language, Hebrew, and Spanish. I was born and raised in Miami, but I love living in a smaller city at a very small school. I want to travel as much as possible- my graduation plans at the moment are the open road. Outside the classroom, I do set design for student run theater, swim in our mini-olympic pool, and this semester I'm trying my hand at contemporary dance.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College in 9th grade. I love the idea of learning for the sake of knowledge, individualized education, and academic freedom. The small size of the school makes me feel at home. Every social and academic aspect of NCF is a rare find in today´s world. The people really care about each other. The academics are there for you and there is so much to learn.

Favorite Things About New College: Picking my favorite thing about NCF sounds impossible. It´s the whole package. If I had to name something, I love the outdoor all day music festivals that happen on Z Green a few times each semester

Melissa Marquez
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
High School: Timber Creek High School
Year at New College: 3rd year
Areas of Interest: Biology/Marine Biology and Conservation

Bio: Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico I am a true-blue ocean girl. The “Little Mermaid” was the only thing that would shut me up at 3AM! I’ve traveled around a lot and have realized adventure is the best way to learn. Outside of being a third year Marine Biology AOC (Area of Concentration), I’m Vice President of NCF’s Circle K International (service organization) and an avid half-marathoner. I love sailing, scuba diving and swimming, too. I’m also pretty crazy about sharks. After graduation, I hope to either attain a Fulbright and do research abroad or go on to get my Ph.D. specializing in shark ecology and conservation.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for the open-minded environment the college incorporates into its academics. Through New College I have been able to make dreams into realities (i.e. doing shark research in the Bahamas and South Africa, studying abroad in Mexico, doing internships in Belize). New College is a truly hands-on place for Natural Science students and that gives us an edge most undergraduates don’t receive. Walking around campus, I felt “at home” and knew this was the place for me.

Favorite things about New College: I absolutely love Pritzker (Marine Biology Center) and the displays in it. As a marine biologist, it’s absolute heaven. The Bay is beautiful too, especially around sunset. Having fun with your closest friends as the sun sets over a beautiful body of water? What could be better?

Casey Dodge
Hometown: Little Gasparilla Island, Florida
High School: Lemon Bay High School
Year at New College: 3rd year
Area of Interest: Biology/Chemistry

Bio: My name is Casey Dodge. I was raised on a small, boat access only island, and as such have always been an explorer at heart. I am now a third year studying pre-med biology and chemistry at New College of Florida. Outside of the classroom I am a fierce chess player, participate in the NCSA (New College Student Alliance) as a justice in the student court, and play on almost all the sports teams at NCF.

Why I chose New College: When looking for schools that offered great education in biology, as well great research opportunities to put me on the right track to medical school, I stumbled across New College. After my tour and seeing the place in action I decided that the cooperative and non competitive learning style, coupled with outstanding class size made New College the one for me.

My favorite things about New College: The faculty to student ratio, the research opportunities, the amazing people you meet on campus, the sense of community, and the process of making an academic contract.

Neal Lacey
Hometown: Gulf Breeze, Florida (Pensacola)
High School:
Gulf Breeze High School
Year at New College:
2nd year
Areas of Interest:
Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

Bio: I am a global citizen and plan to be for the rest of my life. Between traveling the world playing The Beautiful Game (soccer) and moving from navy base to navy base for my parents’ work, it is safe to say that I am a very fortunate individual. I enjoy serving the underprivileged. I plan to attend medical school and potentially work to improve overall public health in underserved communities. I have three brilliant brothers, so growing up was fun. In my free time I enjoy obsessing over a random activity. My current pursuit is golf. Also, I have an evil cat Callie aka Satan. I also enjoying listening to my favorite band Coheed & Cambria.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because education is the focus and it is a research intensive institution. I learn by doing, solving problems. The ISP (Independent Study Project) and thesis projects encourage academic thinking and give students the chance to contribute in their field of study. Also, before NCF I could see myself at a small school. I couldn’t convince myself that I would learn well in a massive lecture hall.

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite aspect of New College is the academic freedom: the unlimited opportunity. As a novo collegian, you define New College.

Destinee Aponte
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, currently residing in Miami
High School: Miami Lakes Educational Center
Year at New College: 2nd year
Area of Interest: Biopsychology

Bio: I am a resident adviser for one of the first year halls and I am incredibly into animals, music/dancing, and Tarantino films. Let's talk about it!

Why I Chose New College: I chose NCF because of the unique academia and small student body!

Favorite Things about New College: I love the sense of freedom and adventure that comes along with being a New College student. :)

Brennan Kent
Hometown: I was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but grew up near Fort Lauderdale, Florida
High School: St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Year at New College: 2nd year
Areas of Interest: Economics and Public Policy

Bio: I am a second year pursuing Economics and Public Policy. My goal is to one day continue into International Mediation. I am a voracious reader. I love music and dancing. As a self described "tea connoisseur", I particularly enjoy throwing tea parties with home baked cakes, cookies, and scones. From my Irish heritage I also have the gift of gab: I love to talk and converse with new people and friends alike! I am a life long Harry Potter, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Lord of the Rings enthusiast. The daughter of a Commercial Airline Pilot, I love traveling and visiting new places. I am an animal lover; when I'm at school, I miss my dog and rabbit at home. I am honored to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for New College!

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because I fell in love with the possibility of reaching an academic potential that no other college or university could give me. I loved the progressive academic atmosphere that fosters both close working relationships with professors as well as the ability to compete in graduate programs.

Favorite Things about New College: I love being surrounded by students who are never afraid to be individuals; and I appreciate the community feeling of New College. New College definitely is the best fit for me.

Jessica Loeb
Hollywood, Florida
High School: McFatter Technical Center
Year at New College: 3rd Year
Area of Interest: English Literature

Bio: Hi! I'm Jessica. I'm a 3rd year student studying English Literature. I hope to one day go on to get my doctorate in Education, and teach public high school kids the joy of reading, learning, and literature. When I'm not talking about these things, I am probably riding my bike around campus or reading at various places such as the Four Winds Cafe, library, or beautiful bay front. Other interests include: writing spoken word poetry, meditating, doing yoga, or exercising at the gym, traveling, working hard, gardening at Caples, discussing spirituality in Unitarian Universalists, writing in my planner, eating four dollar Tapas on Tuesdays at Ceviche, adventure sports, laughing with friends, volunteering, spontaneously meeting new people (talk to me! I'm friendly!), learning how to hula hoop, attending as many campus events as possible, and having deep conversations about personal philosophy, how to be a better person, and of course, Walt Whitman.

Why I Choose New College: New College was one of only two schools I applied to, and the only one I was actually considering. In my senior year of high school, after extensive research and discussion with my guidance counselor and family, me and my mother made a deal. We agreed that I couldn't afford to spend thousands of dollars on my first two years at college, just to take huge, basic, and impersonal intro classes, worry about my GPA, and goof off at frat parties I wasn't even really interested in. That made sense to me, so I reluctantly agreed to spend my first two years at school attending the local community college. Then I found New College. New College embodied everything I wanted from higher education and fit the person that I was, and still am. It was an affordable, accessible college, with small and intensive classes, independent study, personal professor-student relationships, and an intelligent, engaged, and fun student body. Me and my family both agreed, New College is a school that is actually worth the exorbitant cost of education. I applied, got in, and the rest is history! New College was, and continues to be, my dream school.

Favorite Things About New College: The tingly, excited feeling I get when I'm discussing something amazing in class and I feel my brain actually open and expand, the amazingly intelligent and passionate people I've met, the fact that you get out what you put in and your hard work is rewarded, the discussions outside of class I have daily about the things I really care about, New College's many fun traditions, the beautiful campus and it's many events, the oppurtunity to be wholly, completely, and uniquely yourself, and the person I've become since coming to New College.

Taylor Welsh
Hometown: Boynton Beach, Florida
High School: Park Vista High School
Year at New College: 4th year
Areas of Interest: English Literature/Gender Studies

Bio: My name is Taylor and I am a fourth year English Literature/Gender Studies student. I am an avid reader (as you can probably guess, my AOC (Area of Concentration) allows me ample opportunity to indulge in this habit!). I love tea, antiquing, and traveling. I spent the last summer backpacking around the Irish countryside and it was amazing. You can usually find me outdoors enjoying the beautiful Florida sunshine. I am absolutely obsessed with the many beaches in the surrounding Sarasota-Bradenton area!

Why I Chose New College: The small student population was extremely appealing to me - I went to a very large high school. The beautiful campus was also a huge draw. Ultimately, our non-traditional academic program sold me. I think that our narrative evaluation system is so unique. It has taught me that education can be more than just a letter grade or GPA and that there is always room for academic and personal growth.

Favorite Things about New College: The bay, the fitness center and its many aerobic class offerings, the Four Winds Cafe's weekly menus, The Gatsby Party held at the Caples Mansion, Hamilton Center bagels, our tight-knit community, and the incredibly helpful staff.

Taylor Rothenberg
Hometown: Fort Myers, Florida
High School: Fort Myers Senior High School
Year at New College: 4th year
Areas of Interest: Humanities

Bio: I'm Taylor, a Humanities thesis student. Within the division, I have mostly focused on music and performance studies. In my thesis I'm looking to better understand audience-performer dynamics within poetry slam and did research at the National Poetry Slam during August 2013. I have a hosted a number of slam poets at New College with poets including Anis Mojgani, Buddy Wakefield, and Andrea Gibson with plans in the works currently to bring Lauren Zuniga to campus. After graduating, I'm planning a career in education after grad school for early childhood, elementary, or gifted education.

Why I chose New College: I chose New College because of the independent nature of our academic program and the lack of traditional grades. Throughout high school, the focus always seemed to be on getting an A rather than actually learning the subject matter. I feel like at New College the professors and students share a passion for learning. I really enjoy our small class sizes because my professors and I are able to form a better relationship which will benefit my learning. My professors are almost always available if I need a little bit of extra help on homework or a paper. I really appreciate the fact that I'm not just another face in a crowd of students to them.

Favorite Things about New College: Old Caples, the Thesis Room, LETRA (Living Ecosystem Teaching and Research Aquarium), open mics at the Four Winds (Cafe), and the relationships I've formed with my fellow students & alums over the years.

Hilary Ramirez
Hometown: Orlando, FL
High School: Timber Creek High School
Year at New College: 3rd year
Area of Interest: International/Area Studies

Bio: I come from a large, non-traditional family, the middle of five children, and I have loved it. Generally I am a very cheerful and happy person, and have a wide variety of interests. I love scuba diving, art, dancing, working towards social justice and equality, traveling and having adventures. I love to learn and experience new things. While I would love to be a sculptor, marine biologist, and infectious disease specialist all at once, I have found that working towards bettering the lives of people is what I want to dedicate my future to. I have a love of the Russian language and culture and plan on doing some sort of social work over there.

Why I Chose New College: I decided to attend New College because of its academic drive and opportunity. I love how motivated students are to explore the world and areas of academia they are most passionate about. I also want to attend graduate school, and knew that New College would be an institution that would prepare me for that and challenge me to become the best version of myself.

Favorite Things about New College: Aside from the rich academics and the personalized attention you get from your professors, I love the cultural atmosphere of New College. While it is a small school, there is a lot of diversity of thought among the student body. I have learned so much from my peers outside of the classroom, and have been able to get involved in initiatives on campus very easily, such as the social justice club and dance tutorial.

Timbi Shepherd
Greensboro, North Carolina
High School: North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Year at New College: 3rd year
Areas of Interest: Literature and Film

Bio: Hi, my name is Timbi, and I'm a third-year student with an Area of Concentration in Literature. I also have a strong interest in film, and I seek to incorporate movies into my studies in any way I can. I spent the summer studying film theory and production in Berlin, and this year I am working one-on-one with professors to design tutorials in film and media studies to supplement my regular coursework. Outside of the classroom, I host French-language conversation tables and movie nights, tutor elementary- and middle-school students at a local community center, serve as Treasurer of New College's chapter of Circle K International (a Kiwanis-affiliated service club), and perform Latin dances like salsa and cumbia. I enjoy spending time with friends, going downtown and to the beach, and exploring Sarasota's many yummy restaurants.

Why I Chose New College: I was looking for a small, tight-knit community that would accept me and push me to become a more engaged student and citizen. New College was the obvious choice. It was an added bonus that all this was made so affordable for me, an out-of-state student, through scholarships and financial aid.

Favorite Things about New College: The Bay, Four Winds Café, the library's DVD collection, Dance Tutorial, Walls (all-inclusive parties), free access to public transportation, students' initiative, the ease of getting involved, faculty's investment in student success and everyone's willingness to look out for others on and off campus.

Tricia Johnson
Cocoa, Florida
High School:
Cocoa Beach High School
Year at New College:
2nd year
Areas of Interest:

Bio: I love reading and walking through the woods. Before coming to New College, I studied classical voice for many years. As a student, I am trying to learn as much about anything I can. Hopefully I will leave New College and work with authors as an editor.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for its incredible community. I feel like I can walk up to anyone and have a genuine conversation.

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite things about New College are the darkroom, the Sail Club, picnics on Z Green, bay sunsets, and the back corner of the library.

Madi Verbeek
Hometown: Plant City, Florida
High School: Durant High School
Year at New College: 4th year
Area of Interest: Marine Biology

Bio: Born in Chicago, I was raised in a travel trailer all over the west coast then finally settled down in little Plant City! I'm a Marine Biology AOC (Area of Concentration) with a focus on cartilaginous fish and marine mammals. I LOVE to dive, sail, and spend my time in the many local aquariums and zoos. My time out of classes are mostly spent splashing around in any water body that I can find; which also includes puddles!

Why I Chose New College: I chose NCF because of the many opportunities to work in the field. All of the Natural Science professors are working on projects they have been involved in for many years, because of this you will have many opportunities to work one on one with your professors. I love getting my hands dirty and New College was the perfect place to immerse myself in biology work. Sarasota's waters are wonderfully inviting making NCF a great place to literally jump into science!

Favorite Things About New College: The location and people! Where else can you find people who already have a towel and snorkel in their backpacks!

Holly McArthur
Tallahassee, Florida
High School: Lincoln High School
Year at New College: 4th year
Areas of Interest: Medieval & Renaissance Studies

Bio: I’m a fourth year thesis student with my Area of Concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and French Literature. I spent the past semester in France working on my French skills followed by a month-long research project on medieval pilgrimage sites in Western Europe. Outside of studying, I work on keeping up my dance skills and enjoying life and silliness with the great friends I’ve made at NCF, generally by geeking out over Disney and superheroes.

Why I Chose New College: From the moment I arrived on campus for my first tour, I knew I’d found a place that felt like home. The small class sizes, the friendliness of everyone I met while on campus, and the opportunity to design my own course work helped, too. Later, I doubted myself and I went to visit another, much larger university, but I just didn’t get the same kind of feeling as I had gotten at New College, so I came to visit again, and I knew that it was the right place for me.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the people at the school and the small community vibe, the availability of the professors, and the small class sizes. I love that I’m encouraged to push myself and to try new things.

Olivia Levinson
Hometown: Garrison, NY
High School: James I O'Neill High School
Year at New College: 3rd year
Areas of Interest: Philosophy and Psychology

Bio: Growing up in the Hudson Valley region of New York, I have always had an intense love of hiking and mountains. I'm also interested in various forms of photography, oil painting, crew (rowing), acting, feminism, Jewish everything, and cooking. Upon graduation from New College, I am hoping to travel the world a bit, spending a significant amount of time in Israel. After that, I plan on attending Law School with a focus on Ethics.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because it eliminated much of the competition over grades that plagued me during high school. Narrative evaluations along with small class sizes and a focus on student responsibility some of the main factors that made me interested in NCF. The warm weather and gorgeous location on the Sarasota Bay didn't hurt either!

Favorite Things about New College: The ability to explore many different areas of study, the connections students make with their Professors, The Four Winds Cafe, the traditions and annual events.

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
5800 Bay Shore Rd
Sarasota, FL 34243

Phone: (941) 487-5000
Admissions Fax: (941) 487-5001
Fin Aid Fax: (941) 487-5010