Our students love sharing their love of New College with future Novo Collegians. Get to know a little about the students you'll meet on your visit to campus.

Alyssa Boynton

Hometown: Slayton, Minnesota
High School: Murray County Central High School 
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: Psychology

Hi! My name is Alyssa and my pronouns are she/her. I’m originally from Minnesota and moved to Sarasota for college, so the heat has been a big change for me! Along with working in admissions, I work in the Student Success Center (SSC), I’m the student government Vice President for Academic Affairs, and I help with the first-year seminar program (SETSAIL). Academically, I’m really interested in developmental psychology, Montessori education, and the sociology of gender and relationships. Outside of school, I love sailing on the Bay, hiking, and cooking! I’m so excited to show you New College!

Why I Chose New College: I applied (and was accepted to) quite a few prestigious schools, but I fell in love with New College on my tour. I remember seeing the stickers on the mailboxes and the giant beanbag in the library and talking to Steven, the NCSA (student government) President at the time, while I was getting lunch. New College has all these amazing quirks and even more amazing students and professors. 

I also came for the narrative evaluations. I was my high school’s valedictorian, but I realized during my senior year that I didn’t care about school anymore, I only cared about getting the A. The narrative evaluations here have helped me reclaim my education and focus on my growth instead of an arbitrary letter or number. I feel so incredibly lucky to have made the choice to come here, and even if I could go back, I would do it all over again.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the academic freedom. I was able to switch my AOC to a whole new field last fall after I realized over quarantine that I wanted to do something totally different, and my professors supported me 100%. I took a class at a nearby school through our cross-registration program, I’m starting an exciting internship this fall, and I have some great thesis ideas already! At New College, the faculty will find a way to help you do absolutely anything you want to pursue.

Plans after graduation: I plan to become a Montessori guide (teacher), probably for ages 3-6!

Alex Conte

Hometown: Orlando
High School: Lake Nona High School
High School: Lake Nona High School
Year at New College: Fourth-year

Area of Concentration: English with a minor in Rhetoric and Writing
Hi, my name is Alex! I currently serve as the student representative for the Counseling and Wellness Center and work in the Writing Resource Center (WRC) as a Student Writing Assistant (SWA). In my spare time, I enjoy reading and exploring Sarasota. My favorite part of the day is the sunset because members of the community (students, faculty, and townies with dogs) come to relax and watch the sunset together.

Why I choose New College: I first heard about New College as a freshman in high school. After touring the college it remained my top choice because of the small class sizes, rigor, and individualized approach to education. For the most part, I toured other small (mostly private) liberal arts colleges but I picked NCF because I felt the most at home on this campus. The lack of grades was odd to me at first, but I find evaluations to be much more helpful than letter grades. Narrative evaluations are great for tracking academic progress and obtaining personalized feedback for my work. I highly recommend that if you are interested in New College to visit and take a tour of the campus and sit in on a few classes. 

Favorite things about New College: I love that I am able to connect with professors and staff on-campus to form meaningful relationships. I know my professors and advisor see me as a person and not as a number which is something that I find beneficial as I know they care about me and want to see me succeed. I enjoy watching students present and defend their thesis during baccalaureate week. You really see how proud the professors are of their graduating students and also how emotional the room becomes due to the bonds formed over several years. My favorite resource on-campus is the Writing Resource Center. It’s a great place to be productive and to obtain help on papers and midterms —or to grab a coffee and chat with SWA’s. My top study/writing spot is on one of the plush couches on the upstairs floor of College Hall. It is a calming place to do work because of the view which overlooks the bay!

Plans after graduation: I want to attend law school and specialize in maritime or health law. 

Sarah Cooper

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida
High School: Oviedo High School
Year at New College: Fourth-year
Area of Concentration: Religion

Hi, I’m Sarah Cooper! I’m currently a fourth year, and I use she/they pronouns. I’ve been working in Admissions since my first year, but I’ve also been an RA for 3rd Court, our first-year residence hall, and have had the honor of serving as our NCSA Chief of Staff. In my spare time, I like to do arts and crafts, read in the hammocks by the banyan tree, and have movie nights with my roommates. I can’t wait for you to see all that New College has to offer!

Why I chose New College: From the moment I stepped onto campus for my first tour, I knew that this was the place for me. I’m so proud to be a part of this close-knit community which is unlike any other I’ve seen. After my first-year orientation, I came to see that our campus culture fosters a friendly, encouraging, and supportive attitude towards first years, which is not necessarily something I would have expected going into college. And I love that because New College is smaller and more intimate, there’s a guarantee that you’ll run into some friendly faces whenever you walk across campus.

Favorite things about New College: Without a doubt, New College students really make this place what it is. We are creative, passionate, and foster such a unique culture of support for each other’s personal and academic passions. You’ll see countless student-run spaces and projects all around campus that have stood the test of time, and there’s something really special about participating in all these traditions. I’m also very grateful for the opportunities for growth our academic system offers. As opposed to simply giving students a letter grade and sending them off on their way, students here receive a narrative evaluation at the end of the semester for each of our classes. Receiving regular feedback on everything from class participation to my individual development as a writer shows me that my professors have really gotten to know me as a student and a person, and it is so much more comprehensive than a simple letter grade. 

Plans after graduation: I am considering going to graduate school to pursue a degree in library science.

Chloë Fodor

Hometown: Orlando, FL
High School: Winter Park High School
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: International and Area Studies and Religion 

Hello! My name is Chloë Fodor and I am a third-year student pursuing an AOC in International and Area Studies, as well as an AOC in Religion. I am excited to talk to you about New College! I am co-Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion through NCSA (student government) and am so passionate about this school and the people here. In terms of my major, I am interested in peace and conflict studies, as well as in policy design, and I have focused on Brazil as a region as well. I love cooking with my roommates, skateboarding around campus (or zooming on my electric scooter 😀 ) and down to the bay to see the sunset, as well as laying out under the banyan tree to crochet, try to catch up on schoolwork, or do some crafts; I’m always seeking out new ways to experience New College and the Sarasota area! I’m so glad you’re considering NCF, and I’m excited to meet you!

Why I Chose New College: Throughout my college search, I really felt that I wanted that “big school” feeling that I would have gotten from some of the larger universities in Florida. I didn’t want to feel like I was missing out on some sort of quintessential college experience. I ultimately decided to come to New College after talking to a family friend who was a professor at a very large Florida University. He told me that the small class sizes I would get at NCF, and the intimate education I would have access to would be an experience that I would not be able to find anywhere else. He advocated for me to pursue an education in a space where I wouldn’t just be one student in a lecture hall of hundreds, but where I could work closely and collaboratively with faculty. Hearing this from him solidified my decision. Although I was hesitant at first, my time at NCF has only reaffirmed my decision. I could not imagine receiving a more personalized education anywhere else. 

Favorite Things about New College: How creative the students are here! People have so many interesting niche passions that they manage to turn into their careers! Also the bay, mulberry trees, and mango trees… and the banyan tree in the spring. The campus is so beautiful.

Campus Activities: My favorite campus activities are:  looking at the bioluminescence in the bay at night, throwing together costumes for COUP, and doing my class readings by the pool.  

X Gonzalez

Hometown: Parkland, Florida
High School:  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 
Year at New College: Fourth-year
Area of Interest: Activism 

Hello! My name is X, I have a very bubbly personality, love working hard, and value friendships and food above all else.  I love making art and watching movies!

Why I Chose New College: This campus gave me such amazing vibes, and the fact that there is no frat/sorority structure or organized sports teams really contributed to my comfort on campus. The people here are like all of the people I was friends with in high school, those who were uninterested in social hierarchies or gender constructs.

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite things about New College are the hammocks, the bay, the professors, the classes, and the campus culture! There is also such a supportive attitude towards name and pronoun changes, as people are finding new ways to identify constantly.

Plans after graduation: After graduation, I plan on staying in the area and figuring out my future, almost like a gap year but after college

Libby Harrity

Hometown: Orlando, FL
High School: Winter Park High School 
Year at New College: First year
Area of Interest: Political Science

Howdy! I’m Libby, and I am a first-year political science AOC. My academic interests range from international studies to philosophy, and I enjoy reading and playing video games in my spare time. After completing my degree at NCF, I intend to pursue a law degree.

Why I Chose New College: I had applied and been accepted to around 15 different schools both inside and outside of the United States, but after touring and learning more about NCF and the environment it creates, there was no question that it was the right fit.

Favorite Things about New College: Small class sizes, flexibility in the kinds of courses one can take, general vibrations.

Plans after graduation: Law School! 

Sierra Lamb

Hometown: Savannah, GA
High School: Savannah Arts Academy
Year at New College: Fourth-year
Area of Concentration: International Area Studies with a Secondary Field in Psychology 

Hi! My name is Sierra, and I am a fourth-year student who uses she/her pronouns. I am the current President of Queery, as well as a dancer and choreographer for Dance Collective. As someone who grew up dancing and performing, I really enjoy getting to perform with my fellow dancers and seeing different plays and improv events on campus. I am currently pursuing a degree in International and Area Studies with a minor in Psychology, as I love learning about new places, cultures, and people. I even just returned from a semester abroad in Jordan. I can’t wait to meet you!

Why I choose New College: When I first visited New College, I was instantly drawn in by the written evaluations which judge my performance in a classroom. As someone who disliked the competitive academic environment of high school, I found the evaluations to be more helpful in nurturing my desire to learn and grow as a student. The other thing about NCF that drew me in was the people; everyone was so passionate about what they were learning and so welcoming that they really made this place feel like a second home.

Favorite things about New College: The academics, while rigorous, are the perfect amount of challenge for me to explore new topics while also challenging what I already know. The people here are so supportive and encouraging, and I enjoy the deep discussions I have with others. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but something special exists at NCF. When you visit, you can see it for yourself!

Plans after graduation: I plan to continue using the tools I gained at NCF to continue my exploration of the world around us, and to pursue work in the social sector, helping and engaging with my communities wherever possible.

Caroline Link

Hometown: Newburyport, Massachusetts
High School: Newburyport High School
Year at New College: Fourth-year
Area of Concentration: Marine Biology

Hi there! My name is Caroline. I’m in my fourth year at New College and am studying Marine Biology with a particular focus on public policy. I’m an out-of-state student from a small town in Massachusetts, so I’m absolutely loving living in this beautiful Florida weather! In my free time, I love going scuba diving, climbing the trees on campus, and just generally being outdoors.

Why I chose New College: Coming from a high school where one’s GPA and class ranking seemed to define them, I was so refreshed to see a campus culture that strives to break free of that competition. Students at New College are instead able to put that energy and focus into their growth and the academic work they’re passionate about. 

Additionally, the availability of undergraduate research opportunities was one of my main considerations when applying to colleges. During my first year, I was selected as one of three students to participate in the Isermann Program. Through this program, I was partnered with a professor and worked on their research as well as my own independent projects during my first ISP and for a month-long summer internship. Last fall, I helped my professor with a research paper on corals that will be published this year.

Favorite things about New College: By far, my favorite aspect of New College is how tight-knit our community is. Everyone here is so incredibly kind and I was surprised by how quickly campus began to feel like home to me. No matter what challenge I’m facing, I always know that I have a support network of friends, faculty, and staff who genuinely know me and are invested in helping me succeed. 

Plans after Graduation: After graduating New College, I’m planning on attending graduate school for Marine Biology and possibly Public Policy. My current dream job is to work for an organization like the Environmental Defense Fund to help advocate for sustainable policies worldwide.

Sofia Lombardi

Hometown: Burke, Virginia
High School: Lake Braddock Secondary School
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: Political Science and Sociology 

Hi, my name is Sofia! I am a third-year student from the Northern VA/DC metro area. I’ll likely be a Political Science student, but also have some interests in Sociology, Anthropology, and Spanish I am exploring. I currently serve as the NCSA (New College Student Alliance) President, which is our student government. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, watching reality TV, and thrifting. I am so glad you are considering New College!

Why I Chose New College: New College wasn’t initially on my radar—I actually applied at the request of a family friend. When I decided to tour the campus, however, I knew this was the right place for me. Everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming, and I loved the non-traditional aspects of our rigorous academic programs. There seemed to be a lot of resources and opportunities available at a smaller institution that I would not have access to elsewhere, and it just felt like a good fit!

Favorite Things about New College: Aside from its stunning campus, definitely the people. I have made such close friends here with my peers, staff, and faculty. New College’s size gives you the opportunity to develop really meaningful relationships with community members, which I have enjoyed so much.

Plans after graduation: I am really interested in attending law school to go into public interest law or attending a graduate school for conflict resolution—or maybe I’ll end up doing both!

Rosemary Mejia

Hometown: Crystal Lake, Illinois
High School: Crystal Lake Central High School
Year at New College:  Fifth Year
Area of Concentration: Biochemistry and International & Area Studies

Hi! I’m Rosemary. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago for the majority of my life. I survived many cold winters up north and decided to take an early retirement and continue my academic career at New College.  I am currently pursuing a Biochemistry and an International and Area Studies AOC. Ever since I was eight years old, I have had intentions of building my future career around completing genetic research, specifically human genetics.  My ideal career is Bioethical Research. I love traveling, but I spend my “free time,” sailing and kayaking on Sarasota Bay, reading in College Hall, and enjoying the beautiful local museums, parks, and beaches. 

Why I chose New College: I applied to over 30 different Colleges and Universities, internationally and nationally. Outside of the New College’s Financial and Scholarship package I received, I fell in love with the school as a whole. When I visited and experienced a few classes, I enjoyed how students were truly invested in the courses they were taking and the respectfully curious interactions between everyone. I was also attracted to their own “traditional,” grading system, or lack thereof. Students are not in competition with one another or solely focusing on their GPA, but are sincerely learning the material and are constantly focusing on personal growth. New College provides a wonderful environment where driven students flourish. 

Favorite things about New College: I have always loved being close to water, so New College was perfect for my dreams of sailing year-round while receiving an exceptional education. I adore reading, napping, and exploring the weird quirks of New College all over campus. Watching the sunsets from College Hall after class is always a treat. I love how interactive everyone is on campus. The beautiful weather year-round allows us to enjoy the campus comfortably. New College students make it extremely easy for their peers to become involved and well-integrated within the campus’ tight-knit community.  

Plans after graduation: I have intentions of pursuing graduate school after New College.

Fehmi Neffati

Hometown: Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia
High School: Mount Zion Christian Academy
Year at New College: Second year
Area of Concentration:  Computer Science

Aaslema! My name is Fehmi Neffati (He/Him)! I am a second-year student here at New College with an Area of Concentration in Computer Science. I was born and raised in Tunisia, North Africa. My favorite hobbies are photography, cooking, gardening, and sports. I am new to Florida and loving it so far! I can’t wait to have you on our beautiful campus.

Why I choose New College: 2 days after applying to New College on the Common App, I received an email from Tiffany, who is the manager of Graduate and International enrollment. Two minutes into the call, we started speaking French to each other. From the ability to delineate your own course work and curriculum to the beauty of the campus and the weather of Sarasota. It felt like a home away from home. In essence, I am primarily interested in attending New College of Florida because of how personable the professional staff has been to me. As an international student who lives thousands of miles away, personality matters in the business of the academy, especially since the academy will also be my home for the next three years. Of course, the rigorous Computer Science program is attractive to prospective Computer Scientist, but having professionals staff being so friendly and supportive of my career goals from such an early point in the admissions process gives me reassurance that my interest is their vested interest and that New College of Florida will undoubtedly support my academic goals.

Favorite things about New College: How unique every single student is. The bay. The tremendous support system and resources. The weather. 

Plans after graduation: Grad school

Javi Nunez

Hometown: Apopka, FL
High School: Apopka High School
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: Natural Sciences

Hi! My name is Javi (he/him) and I am a third-year Natural Sciences AOC. I was born in northern Massachusetts and moved to Apopka, FL right before kindergarten. Throughout high school, I was a performing arts kid – I did chorus, musical theatre, and small ensemble classes. I am currently an RA on campus, as well as a Student Ambassador. In my free time, I practice traditional Hellenistic astrology (I am a Capricorn sun, Gemini moon, and a Taurus rising) and I also make soap! I have a five-year-old tortoiseshell cat named Mitski.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for its unique academic procedures and opportunities! I was really compelled by the idea of ISP’s and writing a senior thesis, as opposed to the typical college experience. I also knew that I was interested in attending a small college. 

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite thing about New College is the location! Coming from landlocked Orlando, I love how close we are to the beach, and downtown Sarasota is a lot of fun.

Plans after Graduation: I am hoping to stay in Sarasota and open my own soap-making business.

Rocio Del Mar

Hometown: Aguada, Puerto Rico
High School: Winter Park High School
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: Anthropology and Spanish 

Hi! My name is Rocio and I’m a third-year student of Anthropology and Spanish here at NCF.  I was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Florida and have gone to school and lived in the Central Florida area for most of my life. I have served as one of the Co Vice Presidents of Diversity and Inclusion for the New College Student Alliance and I was one of the Orientation Leaders for Fall 2021. In my free time I love to skate, you might see me scooting around or trying to catch the sunset down by the bay on my roller skates!  I love going on walks around campus, in particular to any of the little spots on campus with edible plants like the mulberry tree down over by 4 winds, to catch the sunset by the bay, heading on down over to the Caples waterfront or hopping next door to the Ringling Museum’s grounds and circus exhibit!

Why I Chose New College: I stumbled across New College my senior year of high school after a friend of mine toured and told me about NCF as being an oddball among their other college choices. I was immediately intrigued by the sense of academic freedom offered to New College students, having been in public school from K-12 I had quite frankly grown tired of IB, AP, Common Core, and other such forms of standardized learning and was looking for even the smallest feeling of agency and choice in my education. The prospect of customizable learning opportunities such as the Independent Study Period (ISP), the idea of writing a thesis, the possibility of creating tutorials, the contract system and the absence of required Gen Ed courses caught my attention and drew me to New! It didn’t hurt that the quirky little school was also down by the water and home to beautiful sunsets.

Favorite Things about New College: The students really are what New College is all about. Most of all my favorite things about New College revolve around the friends I’ve made here and the memories we’ve shared. Students here are passionate and inquisitive in their learning and our campus is littered with student initiated projects and programs like the bees over by the Caple Carriage House, the Student Gardens over by Caples and the hammocks up in the Banyan tree are among my favorite little details of the school. New College draws lots of talented students with unique interests and there is a constant flow of projects, classes and dialogue here that reflect that.

Plans after Graduation: To be determined in the next coming year hopefully!

Xabier Rezola

Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School:  Southeast High School
Year at New College: Second year 
Area of Interest: International and Area Studies and Political Sciences

Hey, I am Xabier! I am a second-year student here at New College. I have a strong interest in foreign languages and international relations. I have plans on traveling the world and meeting people from all types of backgrounds. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends, watch movies, and meet new people.

Why I Chose New College: Honestly, New College was not my first choice when it came to schools. With the way everything turned out with the pandemic it ended up being the best choice for me. Financially, New College was my best option. It ended up being a great option in general because I have met so many amazing people here, I have gained experiences I could not gain anywhere else, and I feel heard when my professors communicate with me. This school did not start off as my first choice but it ended up becoming one of my best choices.

Favorite Things about New College: The school is just so welcoming and everyone here is so understanding. I love the small community the school has developed over the years and I enjoy the small classroom environments which allow students to better foster professional relationships with professors. I also really like the bay, I know everyone says that but sunsets at the bay are unrivaled.

Daniel Schell

Hometown: Bowling Green, KY
High School: Pope John Paul 2 High School
Year at New College: Fourth year
Area of Interest: Philosophy

Hello, my name is Daniel, and I am a 4th year philosophy AOC. When I am not studying or traveling for archery competition, I am the co-captain of the NCF Powerlifting team. Other hobbies I enjoy are reading and anything to do with the outdoors. 

Why I Chose New College: I chose New college for the unique opportunities and the academics. The narrative evaluations facilitate a more holistic approach to learning. Additionally, the close relationships garnered with professors allows flexibility and a more in depth classroom experience. When I was looking at colleges, I had the choice of being a student in a classroom of 200 or New College and I am extremely happy with my choice. 

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite things about New College are the opportunities and quality of the academics. Since New College grants a lot of freedom to dictate the college experience, I have found that that I can pursue educational opportunities that I could not at typically do at another institution.

Plans after Graduation: Currently nothing. Still in the process of figuring out what I would like to pursue.

Rhys Shanahan

Hometown: Gibsonton, Florida
High School: East Bay High School
Year at New College: Fourth-year
Area of Concentration: Political Science

Why I chose New College:
I chose New College of Florida after considering what I was looking for academically. NCF, being an Honors College in Florida, had caught my eye after reading about the alums that the school had produced. After talking about NCF with my College and Career Counselor in High School, she explained to me that NCF puts an emphasis on Personal Learning and allows students to tailor their own education with the support of Faculty and Staff. Considering my desire to attend Law School, I felt, and still feel, that NCF was my best choice in establishing a strong educational foundation for my hopefully future career.

Favorite thing about New College:
My favorite thing about New College would have to be the freedom of education. While Professors do design their courses preemptively every semester, I am allowed to customize a course alongside a professor that will benefit my degree and student resume for grad school. Every January, the ISP period is by far the best example of this, where I was required to pursue a month-long project of my own design regardless of my AOC. I traveled to Panama my first ISP to study Leaf Cutter Ants, and then created NCFs first Law Society and hosted a Law-focused ISP my second ISP. 

Plans after Graduation:
I currently plan to enroll at the University of Florida’s School of Law or Florida State University’s School of Law to earn a Law Degree. With that, I am between the plans of either fully pursuing a career in Law or using the degree to help me pursue a career in Politics. As of right now, I am still undecided, but I know that it is between these two paths that I will choose. 

Jacob Silverman

Hometown: Miami, FL
 High School: Miami Country Day School
Year at New College: Third year
Area of Interest: Philosophy and Religious Studies/ Russian Literature 

Hey, my name is Jacob. I am a third-year student here at New College! In my free time, I love reading philosophical fiction and science fiction, watching anime, practicing my Yu-Gi-Oh! skills and watching movies (I love old movies and horror!). When I am not in class I love spending time at the bay to watch the sunset, helping teach English to Ukrainian students, and shopping around Sarasota (we have some incredible book stores). I am using my time here at New College to prepare myself for law school and to hopefully teach English in Japan after graduation!

Why I Chose New College: I did not want to just be another number at my university. I wanted the opportunity to truly be able to know my peers and professors without sacrificing academics. By choosing New College I have been able to pursue my passions while making lifelong relationships with peers and professors.

Favorite Things about New College: While this is an impossibly hard question I have to say I think my two favorite things about NCF are my professors and the bay. Every week I get to go see the sunset at the bay which is a five-minute walk which you could not do anywhere else! 

Plans after graduation: After Graduation, I plan on applying to the JET Program to teach English for a year or two in Japan, After that, I plan to return to the states and go to Law School.

Quentin Voccia

Hometown: Altamonte Springs, FL 
High School:  Lake Brantley High School
Year at New College: Second year 
Area of Interest: Biological Psychology

Hello, my name is Quentin Voccia and I am a Student Ambassador at New College of Florida as well as an Orientation Leader for Fall 2021 Orientation. I am interested in studying the biological aspects of behavior as well as neuroscientific approaches to psychology. I am a native Floridian which means I am totally used to the heat and do not get hot at all when it’s 100 degrees outside. I enjoy going for bike rides and spending time with my friends. I also love baking and cooking and sometimes leave random assortments of desserts in the dorm lounges.

Why I Chose New College: I toured New College with my brother my Freshman year of high school and found it to really be an exciting place where my education could grow! We heard about NCF from my mom’s friend who graduated from New College. I came back two more times to do a campus visit and an open house which helped solidify my decision that New College was the right campus for me!

Favorite Things about New College: I love the architecture and the history surrounding it! The fact that I work in the Ringling brothers’ mansion still amazes me! I also love how when I walk down the street/promenade, fifty different people say hi to me! It’s a very close-knit community and I love it!

Plans after graduation: I plan to get a degree/doctorate in Neuropsychology in a graduate program either at the University of Central Florida or at the University of Houston.