New College produces some mighty results.

If you don’t mind, we need to brag a bit – because for a tiny school, New College produces some mighty results.

If you don’t mind, we need to brag a bit – because for a tiny school, New College produces some mighty results.

Year after year, we consistently attract the attention of the most prestigious arbiters of excellence in higher education, resulting in top national rankings from the likes of U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Kiplingers and The Princeton Review. We try not to put too much emphasis on these rankings, which are subject to a lot of variables, but it’s very nice when we make the top tier.


We’re again rated as one of The Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back” (2017), noting “the combination of NCF’s incredibly low tuition and rigorous, individualized academic program make it a tremendous value for both in-state and out-of-state students,” as evidenced by the 64 Fulbright Scholarships that have been awarded to New College students since 2005.

Fiske Guide to Colleges (2017) named New College a “Best Buy,” one of 47 colleges and universities – 21 public, 26 private – in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. selected for academic quality and affordable cost.

New College ranked No. 4 among all public liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges for 2016. New College was also named the 15th best nationally for students who have the least debt at graduation.

New College ranked No. 14 in Kiplinger’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” for 2016, and was ranked #1 among small public colleges, and #6 among public colleges for lowest total debt at graduation.

New College ranked No. 15 in Forbes Magazine (2015) list of “Best Value” colleges, ones that “deliver the goods without picking your pocket.”

2016 Student Honors and Accolades

As New College of Florida celebrated its 50th commencement ceremony in May, several of its students are also celebrating their acceptance of major academic awards. New College continued its success in Fulbright awards, where we have more success per capita than almost any other American college.

Nicholas Abboud, a math and theoretical physics major from Gainesville, was awarded a Frost Scholarship, which pays the full costs of a master’s degree at England’s famed University of Oxford. In high school, Abboud nearly failed his first physics course, but he said New College’s academic structure and small class sizes allowed him to excel in the field. Abboud was one of nine winners statewide.

Bradley Baker, a mathematics and philosophy major from Oviedo, received a Fulbright Research Award to study machine learning at the University of Hildesheim in Germany. At New College, Baker was an actor and comedian, captained the fencing team and interned at the Mind Research Network in New Mexico. His work there led to a paper on machine learning for a professional scientific conference. After his Fulbright year, he plans graduate studies in machine learning and to possibly pursue a career in “big data” law and ethics.

Gerina Gjergji, an international studies and Spanish language major from Jacksonville, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico. Gjergji was born in Greece and raised in Albania before moving to Florida, and has studied in Spain and Puerto Rico. That has given her a lifelong interest in migrations and the challenges immigrants face. During her Fulbright year, she will teach in a Mexican school. She plans to continue to study international migration and diasporic identities in Mexico, and then to continue her studies in graduate school.

Constance Sartor, a second-year biology student from Orlando, is a winner of the nationwide Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships for 2016, which provide two years of tuition assistance and a paid internship at an NOAA research facility. She is one of 127 winners nationally, and the only one from a Florida public college.

Recent New College alumnus Patrick Bon Tonissen, from Panama City, also received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. He will teach in German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which borders Holland and Belgium, and is home to cities including Dusseldorf and Cologne. Tonissen, who graduated in 2015, has been working this year with mortgage banker MB Financial in Sarasota. He studied history and German at New College and captained the sailing team, helping to win the school’s first regional championship. He was certified in peer mediation and conflict resolution and worked with the SailFuture program, founded at New College, mentoring at-risk high school students. He also served as an intern with Judge Michael Overstreet in Florida’s 14th Judicial Circuit. After his Fulbright year, he plans to attend graduate school and then pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

2016 graduating seniors Yadira Lopez and Carolina Shin were awarded French Government Teaching Assistantships and Brenna Kirk and Evann Soltys-Gilbert, Spanish Government Teaching Assistantships, for 2017.

Neal Lacey, a graduating senior and a molecular and cell biology major, was selected for a two-year Cancer Research Training Awards from the National Cancer Institute, a part of the NIH.

The New College student newspaper, The Catalyst, won 1st place in the American Scholastic Press Association 2015-16 competition. The Catalyst is an academic tutorial sponsored by p\Professor of Anthropology Maria Vesperi. Managing the paper this year were: thesis students Kaylie Stokes, general editor; Yadira Lopez, copy editor; and third-year Pariesa Young, managing editor.

National Science Grants

Seven New College students received highly prized National Science “REU” (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) grants for summer 2016. The students and institutions at which they will be studying are: Breton Avril, mathematics, Carnegie Mellon University; Rachel Ceciro, archaeology, University of Arizona; Cora Coleman, machine learning, University of Colorado; Evan Murphy, psychology/political science, New York University; Madison Smith, physics, Texas A&M University; Robert Smith, chemistry and physics, Rochester Institute of Technology; and Katherine Van Etten, mathematics, Florida International University.

Newman Civic Fellow

Lizabelt Avila has been named a national Newman Civic Fellow by Florida Campus Compact for her public service both on campus and in the community. Lizabelt plans to study abroad next year at The Hague, taking courses in human rights law, global citizenship, and equality, before returning to New College to complete her baccalaureate thesis.

Bates Award

Established in 2008, the Bates Award is awarded annually to students who exhibit outstanding academic achievement through research on topics in gender studies and present their work at an academic conference. This year’s winners are Addie Allen, Bo Buford, Rory Sharp and Wilmarie Ríos Jaime.

Four Winds Awards

The Four Winds Award was created to acknowledge outstanding graduating fourth years who have made positive contributions towards illuminating our campus and community. Winners of this award were nominated by faculty and staff members, and we are appreciative of their impact and lasting legacy on our campus.

The Four Winds Impact Award:
Brennan Kent
Clifford Lundin
Tricia Johnson

The Four Winds Legacy Winners are:
Corey Culbertson
Nasib McIntosh

Gilman Scholarships

Three students from the 2016 graduating class received Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for study abroad funded by the U.S. Department of State: Shana Bergman (Norway), Madeleine Yount (Brazil) and Jacob Cooley (Bolivia).


Twenty-one New College students earned externally funded summer internships for 2016. They are Sarah Cohen, math and computer science/data science, Engineering Practicum Internship at Google; Susan Gomes, psychology, Universal Studios; Edline Francois, biology, Oregon Health & Science U., Summer Equity Program; Melinda Klenk, humanities/theatre, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami; Anne Magee, psychology, Duke U.; Kohl Malo, political science/ urban studies, City of Stuart Community Redevelopment Agency; Jazzlyn O’Reilly, International & Area Studies, Elling Eide Library, Sarasota, FL; George Thurlow, political science/public policy, Donald J. Weidner Summer Program at Florida State U.;  Hayley Trejo, anthropology, Archaeological Field School at U. of North Florida; Junhwi Yoo, biology/chemistry, Tyson Undergraduate Fellows Program at Washington U., St. Louis; Katherine Diamond, Seth Hearld, chemistry/applied math, and April Myers, neurobiology, all at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM; Jeremy Johnson, math, Caitlyn Ralph, computer science, and Kik Wojtalewicz, math, all at the Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM; Kevin Jensen, Florida Sea Grant Program; Katherine Ervin, natural sciences/math and Wes Harper, NSF RUI funding through Professor Shipman’s grant at  New College; Chandler Honaman and Brittany Murray, funding through Optical Spectroscopy and Nano-Materials Lab at New College.

Faculty Awards

When it comes to research grants, honors and awards, the New College faculty chalk up achievements out of proportion to a school our size. The students benefit, too, because they get to participate in the “real world learning” opportunities presented by the faculty’s research grants. Some recent examples include a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Army to study nanotechnology, a $375,000 grant to explore how better maize production can feed the world’s hungry, and Fulbright Fellowships to New Zealand and Mexico.

The College’s community outreach programs have won awards from the NAACP, the YMCA, Sarasota County and Better World Books.

Here are some examples of recent faculty honors:

Dr. Gordon Bauer and Dr. Athena Rycyk, both specialists in the cognitive behavior of marine animals, worked with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on a two-year project designed to create audiograms mapping the hearing range of Green and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

The second year of Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry Steven Shipman’s grant from the National Science Foundation, for “RUI: Rapid Acquisition and Analysis of Complex Spectra with High-Speed Digitizers,” saw the creation of new data-collection methods and spectral analysis software by New College students.

Professor of Anthropology Uzi Baram was funded by the Florida Humanities Council to commemorate the destruction of an African-American fort on the Florida Gulf Coast by creating a virtual reconstruction of the site of the battle, as well as the paths that survivors took to escape.

Professor of Biology Sandra Gilchrist, funding by the e Sarasota Bay Estuary Program trained 50 local teachers on coastal resiliency, endangered coastlines, and waves and currents in another round of Teacher Workshops during the AY 2015-16.

The Sarasota String Quartet made up of string players from the Sarasota Orchestra performed new works written by New College student composers Daniel Crumpler, Jackson Hughes, Jacob Parker, and Brandt Stirling.

New College received grants from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Emergency Management to support to address facilities maintenance and especially hurricane preparation.

Classics professor David Rohrbacher received the award for Excellence in Collegiate Teaching from the American Philological Association.

History professor Carrie Beneš was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome.

Sociology professor Sarah Hernandez was awarded a 2008-09 Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research in Mexico.

Psychology professor Gordon Bauer completed a research relating to the sensory performance of the West Indian manatee and received a new grant from the NSF for research on manatee vibrisse in collaboration with Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory. He was also named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Physics professor Mariana Sendova was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Army Research lab to fund her research in nanoparticles – the largest research grant in the College’s history.

English professor Robert Zamsky received a grant from the Florida Humanities Council to support a project focusing on the historical and contemporary literary relationships between Florida and the Caribbean.

Biology professor Amy Clore was awarded a $375,000 grant from the National Science Foundation as part of a national team of researchers receiving $4 million to conduct research on endosperm production in maize.

Anthropology professor Maria Vesperi was awarded the American Anthropological Association’s Oxford Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

Political science professor Frank Alcock received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant to study and teach in New Zealand.

English professor Miriam Wallace was selected for a summer institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities on the rule of law as it relates to the liberal arts.

History professor David Harvey was awarded a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society for his research on ideas related to human origins and racial differences.

Music professor Maribeth Clark was elected to the Council of the American Musicological Society.

Economic professor Tarron Khemraj was invited to join the Economic Council of the Alliance for Change in Guyana as an advisor on global, Caribbean and domestic issues.

Chemistry professor Steven Shipman received three grants totaling more than $200,000 over three years for research on MRI microwave spectroscopy.

French professor Amy Reid’s English translation of the book Queen Pokou: Concerto for a Sacrifice by Veronique Tadjo was named one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2010.

Chinese Language & Culture professors Jing Zhang and Aijun Zhu both received Chinese Course Development grants from the U.S. Department of Education and helped get a grant from the Chinese government for seven students to study in China.

Biology professor Sandra Gilchrist received grants from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for K-12 teacher workshops and a summer science program for underprivileged middle school students. She also spearheaded a gift from the AT&T Foundation to expand the College’s marine science program for elementary and middle-school children from low-income families.