New College STARS

Meet our Student Admissions Representatives.

Meet Our Student Admissions Representatives

Jeeda AbuKhader

Jaida.Abukhader15@ncf.edu

Hometown: Amman, Jordan

High School: Amman National School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: Economics/Finance

I was born and raised in Jordan. I have a passion for traveling and learning about new cultures. During my sophomore year, I did an exchange year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After that year I knew I wanted to study in the U.S. New College is making that dream come true! I graduated from the International Baccalaureate program. I love languages: I’m fluent in Arabic and English. I enjoy dancing, running and listening to music. I’m very excited to be able to share my love of New College.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because it is academically challenging and affordable. The professors and students are wonderful.

Favorite Things about New College: The small size of New College enhances my experience — it allows you to meet and know everyone. I also have one on one time with my professors. New College also Offers academic independence and helps me learn new things about myself every day.


Matthew Bocanumenth


Hometown: 
Bogota, Colombia

High School: Colegio Gran Bretaña

Area of Concentration: International and Area Studies – Latin America Focus

Year at New College: Fourth Year

I was born in New York City to immigrant parents and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. My father’s job allowed my family to live abroad for most of my life, which is why I have a tremendous passion for traveling and embracing cultural differences. I am fluent in English and Spanish, and am currently re-learning Portuguese! This year I am the teaching assistant for World Politics because I am eager to pursue my career in international diplomacy. My undergraduate thesis will be focused on the struggles ex-combatants face in reintegrating to civil society, with a focus on Colombia’s current post-conflict reconciliation programs. My favorite hobby at New College is Dance Collective, where I participate in several choreographies that are presented in a showcase at the end of every semester. I hope you love New College as much as I do and cannot wait to see you involved in the community!

Why I chose New College: I am an International Baccalaureate graduate and wanted to continue with a rigorous and affordable academic program. I hope to attend graduate school in the near future and this community offers me the resources to make that goal attainable.

Favorite Things About New College:  New College’s small community offers amazing opportunities to get involved in whatever you love. The University Town Center is my favorite place to hang out and I even work there as well! The beaches in Sarasota are on another level of beautiful, which is why it is important we care for our environment.

Plans after Graduation: I am currently applying to a few graduate programs and job opportunities. I see myself advocating for gender and LGBT+ equality on an international stage, centering my work in developing countries. My interest is specifically in helping war-torn societies reach peace through diversity and tolerance.


Alyssa Borgschulte

aborgschulte@ncf.edu

Hometown: Acworth, Georgia

High School: Etowah High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Biopsychology

I am a huge animal person who grew up around a lot of animals. I compete in hunter-jumper English horseback riding, and I love dolphins! I want to study the animal behavior of dolphins or maybe do rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals. I am constantly trying to go to the beach as much as possible because I love the water. I am one of the Vice Presidents of our Scuba Diving Club here on campus and I am also one of the administrators for Dance Collective!

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College not only because the location is absolutely beautiful on the water, but because of the unique classes they offered. My first year first semester I took a class on bottlenose dolphins. Where else are you going to find that?

Favorite Things about New College: The Bayfront is one of my favorite things about New College because the water and the sunsets are gorgeous. I also really like the smaller class size because you are able to connect more with your professors and peers one on one


Alex Bottorff

william.bottorff16@ncf.edu

Hometown: Venice, Florida

High School: Venice High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Chemistry

I am a second-year student at New College. I currently live in Venice, Florida (about 20 miles south of New College) and it is where I have lived for years and where I finished high school. I want to study chemistry and pursue a doctoral degree with a focus in inorganic chemistry.

Why I chose New College: The ISP (Independent Study Project) program was important, and so was the contract system New College employs. But, the way each student is a name, not a number, stands out.

Favorite things about New College: My largest class size has been under 50 students, and the students and professors are wonderful. Not to mention the beautiful sunsets over Sarasota Bay.

Plans after graduation: Graduate school for Chemistry is my current path, but the future is versatile.


Lorelei Domke

lorelei.domke15@ncf.edu

Hometown: Cape Coral, Florida

High School: Mariner High School (FL) and Washington Academy (ME)

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest:  Chinese Language and Culture

Hello, 大家好, I’m Lorelei (she/her)! I’m a 4th year Chinese major. I was born and raised in Southwest Florida but attended an international boarding school in Downeast Maine for most of highschool. I have been fortune enough to study abroad this last Spring semester in Beijing, China and Summer in Tainan, Taiwan with CLS. This year I’ll be thesising, working, and enjoying life back in Florida with my amazing peers and professors, 3 younger brothers (one is a 2nd year at New College), and wonderful mom. Outside of academics I enjoy the beach (of course), reading, slacklining, meditation, running, swimming, and cooking all my vegetarian meals. Can’t wait to meet and get to know you!

Why I chose new College: My mom applied to New College back in the day. New College was her dream college but she was denied. I have heard about New College since I was young, in my mind it was always that “dream college”. When I was looking into colleges I saw that New College had a Chinese language program (1 of 2 in Florida at the time). I applied and got in! My (and my mom’s) dream college with an amazing Chinese major program to match!

Favorite things about New College: Having a close and meaningful relationship with my professors and campus community! Sarasota: The beaches are very special and hold a special place in my heart. Roads lined with palm trees just make me feel at home/happy.

Plans after graduation: My first step is to go back to China or Taiwan to study, find work in China, or work for the Peace Corps while starting the application process to be a Foreign Service Officer.


Jonathon Goodman

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School and/or Previous College: Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Year at New College: Fourth-year

Area of Concentration: International Studies and Political Science

My name is Jonathan Goodman, and I am fourth-year student currently writing my thesis. I am pursuing a double AOC in International Studies and Political Science. I grew up in Tampa and Virginia, and I graduated high school in Lima, Peru. Lima fostered my passion for South American and political science. Last year I participated in the NSE Leon program, which had me study abroad in Leon, Spain for one semester. Eventually, I want to complete a postgraduate degree in international migration or international political economy. I was the International Studies Rep for the Council on Academic Affairs my second year, so if you have any questions on the International Studies AOC or studying abroad options, feel free to ask me any questions!

Why I Chose New College: What really drew me to New College were the small class sizes and the thought-provoking class discussions that come out of our great professor-to-student ratio. Along with the knowledgeable professors and the captivating material, New College was the perfect fit for me.

Favorite things about New College: The waterfront is an obvious choice. Also, close to the waterfront is the Ringling Museum. Once a month the Ringling students will host a concert, an open gallery of paintings, and other miscellaneous exhibits, all in one event.

Plans after graduation: I prefer to get my Master’s Degree directly after graduating from New College. If not that, then I am looking to work in a political risk consultancy firm for a little while.


Kara Grissom

kara.grissom15@ncf.edu

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School: Blake High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: Biochemistry

Hi my name is Kara, I’m a third-year natural sciences AOC and Pre-Med student here at New College. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, with my mom, two older sisters, and lots of pets! I’ve been involved with dance and musical theatre since I was six years old, and I attended a magnet high school for musical theatre performance. In my free time I love to spend time on the beach and outdoors, workout, dance with the dance collective club, as well as explore new places in the Sarasota area.

Why I chose New College:  The small classes and close campus community are what drew me to New College as well as the beautiful location.

Favorite things about New College: The close professor/student relationships, the community of students who all want each other to succeed, and all the resources available to students here at New College. Downtown Sarasota is one of my favorite places, with so much to offer!

Plans after graduation: Attend medical school.


Mackenna Jensen

mjensen@ncf.edu

Hometown: Norwalk, Ohio

High School: Norwalk High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: Marine Biology

I am Mackenna Louise Jensen. I am a third year at New College and use she/her pronouns. I currently am interested in a Marine Biology AOC with specialization in working with sea turtles and manatees, but am also looking into a more ecology and environmental studies course to get a greater view of how the environment and the animals interact to assist both. I am an out of state student from Norwalk, Ohio, but have recently moved to Hudson, Florida. I had been planning on living in Florida for most of my life, so I was thrilled to finally get to make the change. I adore most outdoor activities including doing yoga outside. I have danced ballet since the age of 6 and hope to get involved with the dance collective this coming semester. As I live on this planet, taking care of the Earth is very important as well as taking care of myself, so I am very big on recycling and reducing waste as well as making and using natural products for me to care for myself while not added toxins to the environment around me.

Why I Chose New College: I choose New College after reading through what the structure of the school was. I really loved the idea of having evaluations instead of letter grades since I went to a Montessori school till 4th grade that ran on a similar system. I also had just written a paper the previous year before I found New College on the break down of how letter grade do not truly allow for growth, so to find a college that agreed with that made my heart sing. I was also looking for a Marine Biology program that sparked my interest. I literally cried when I read about the Marine Biology program for New College and continued to love many of the other natural science courses, so I could see myself growing at New College and New College still offering me exactly what I needed/wanted.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the community of New College. The campus feels like home to me. The professors actually work with you and know who you are. There are always people that care and are interested in who you are and what you do. People push and encourage you at New College, so that you can reach out of your own personal bubble and get what you wanted to do but were too afraid to. I love the environment. Even classes that do not need to deal with things that are outside occasionally go outside for class or for an activity. The school knows its campus is beautiful and actually used it, which is wonderful. As someone that loves nature and animals, getting to use the campus’ environment as a resource for hands on classes and research is so useful.

Plans After Graduation: My dream (who knows if it will happen, but that’s why it’s a dream) is to be able to work on a team that aids in clean-up and protection for animals and their environment. I would love to just drop everything and go where needed whether that be to clean up an oil spill or rescue a sea turtle and work with it in a sea turtle hospital. I would love to do this all while blogging regularly, but that’s the dream for now.


Marena Long

Hometown: Telford, Tennessee

High School: David Crockett High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Marine Biology

My name is Marena Long. I’m from Tennessee, a landlocked state, but I have a passion for the ocean. I love being outdoors and reading. I would be the perfect partner for the Amazing Race, not that we would win but it would be a good time. I have two dogs and two cats who are perfect.

Why I chose new College: The chance to do ISPs and a Thesis as an undergraduate was an amazing opportunity, plus I wanted to be near the ocean and New College is in the perfect location.

Favorite things about New College: I love how close New College is to the beach and how many things there are to do around Sarasota.

Plans after graduation: Graduate School/ Shark Week


Rosemary Mejia

Hometown: Crystal Lake, Illinois

High School: Crystal Lake Central High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Biochemistry

Hi! I’m Rosemary. I was born and raised the suburbs of Chicago for a 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 AOC. Ever since I was eight years old, I have had intentions of building my future career around completing genetic research, specifically human genetics. 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 New College: I have intentions of pursuing graduate school after New College.


Arantxa Prince

Hometown: Orlando, Fl

High School: Olympia High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Concentration: Sociology

Hello! My name is Arantxa Prince and I am a second year Sociology AOC. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to the United States a week before my second birthday. I grew up in Orlando, Fl with my parents, two older brothers, and three dogs. I’m a First Degree Black Belt in the Art of Shotokan. I’ve been involved with karate since I was 4 years old and I currently teach karate to kids grades K-12 with my mom. I’m involved with costume design at the Windmill Theatre Company and have found a genuine passion with the art of expression that costume designing holds. One of my favorite hobby is listening to music, and I’m always up to exploring new artist!

Why I chose New College: I choose New College because it gave me the option to try out so many new possibilities with no restraints. I also appreciate the size of the school because it allows me to have a more personal experience.

Favorite things about New College: My favorite thing about New College is the location! The Bayfront is such a gorgeous sight and we’re only 20 minutes from the beach.

Plans after graduation: My plans after graduation is to attend law school and specialize in family law.


Eleni Spanolios

eleni.spanolios15@ncf.edu

Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida

High School:  Palm Harbor University High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest:  Chemistry

I was born in Chicago, but grew up with my crazy Greek family in Tarpon Springs. I have always been active and continue to be so at New. I love sailing, hanging out by the bay and doing yoga with friends. When I am not taking care of residents as a Resident Advisor I love to cook big meals for me and my roommates to share.

Why I chose New College:  I was an I.B. student in high school and wanted the same academic rigor in college without going broke. New College satisfied both of those needs. After visiting the campus a few times, I realized I really enjoyed the culture and the people. After my first year, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice. My professors know me and are always there to guide me through difficult times. Not to mention the amazing friends I have made along the way.

Favorite things about New College: I love the small size of the school. It makes everything personal and more manageable. The community at New College is so welcoming and accepting. I also love to explore Cook Hall and Old Caples. They are my favorite buildings!

Plans after graduation: I want to go to graduate school most likely for chemistry.


Hope Sparks

Hope.sparks15@ncf.edu

Hometown: Clearwater, Florida

High School: Osceola High School

Year at New College: Fourth-year

Area of Concentration: Psychology

Hi! My name is Hope, and I’m originally from Clearwater, Florida. I’m an RA on campus in the Pride LLC (formerly known as LGBTQ+ LLC), and I’m a psychology thesis student. I’m writing my thesis on the developmental impacts of growing up alongside a sibling who has a developmental disability. I love to travel abroad, and most of my family is in Ireland, which helps! Also, my favorite animal is the three-toed sloth.

Why I chose New College: New College was actually the first college I toured. I went through a list of schools in Florida, had never heard of it, & needed to find out more. The atmosphere & the unique style of learning just hooked me, & every school I looked at after NCF didn’t compare.

Favorite things about New College: How small it is. I get to really build connections with faculty & staff, which helps with networking, but also with just learning. New people lead to new perspectives & information & knowledge.

Plans after graduation: Currently applying to a variety of PhD programs in Human Development or Counseling Psychology


Katie Thurson

kthurson@ncf.edu

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

High School: Stanton College Prep

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: Religion

I was born in Jacksonville and I lived there until I moved to Sarasota to attend New College. I just finished my sixth summer at a summer camp I work at, where I’ve worked almost every position and I’m now the program director. I love summer camp and nature education, and I’m very interested in the intersections between religious education and nature education at summer camp. I was away from New for all of the 2016-2017 school year, as I was studying abroad in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Why I chose New College: I didn’t apply to New College until March of my senior year of high school, and I really didn’t want to go. I went to a very rigorous and grade-focused high school, and I was convinced that any place that didn’t have grades was not the place for me. I ended up choosing New because it was the most financial responsible choice, and I was still unsure during orientation if this was the school for more. I felt so out of place, like everyone was cooler or stranger than I was. After orientation and the first few weeks of classes, I knew I wanted to stay at New. While all my friends from high school were stuck in huge classes and were struggling to maintain a A/B average, I got to know my professors and focus on the material and trying to make progress that was specific to my own abilities. I love New and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Favorite things about NCF: I love the academic program at New College, because it gives you the freedom to learn in your own way, while also ensuring your advisor and professors are involved in your life, so you never feel like you are completely lost and alone. I wanted to study political science when I applied to New College, and now I’m a religion AOC. I would have never sought out new subjects without the freedom and fluidity of the academic program at New College. I was also able to study abroad for a year during my second year, which was absolutely transformative and I am so thankful to New College’s study abroad coordinator/program for that.

Plans after New College: I want to attend law school, but I will most likely take a gap year and apply to teaching fellowships. My dream job would be lobbyist for the American Camp Association.


Benjamin Valen

Hometown: Marathon, Florida

High School: Island Christian High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Psychology

Hey y’all! My name is Ben and I’m a second year Psychology AOC and Art History “slash” at New College. I was originally born in Atlanta, GA but moved to the Florida Keys when I was eight-years-old. Before coming to New College, I dabbled in a plethora of AP and honors courses at my past high school. Taking these past courses prepared me well for New College! In my free time, I enjoy doing photography, hiking, and any activity that allows me to interact with nature. If you see me around campus, come say hey!

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its small class sizes and discussion-based lectures. My professors know me on a first name basis because of New College’s 10:1 student/faculty ratio. I learned quickly that my name is more important to my professors and peers rather than just my student number. I also fell in love with New’s unique culture after having my first tour. Being challenged academically and finding myself accepted socially at New was the dealbreaker—much more important than Greek life!

Favorite Things about New College: One of my favorite aspects about New College is having no grades! Rather than getting a final letter grade, I receive one narrative evaluation from each of my professors at the end of every semester which discusses everything from my attendance/participation to my writing/exams. Narrative evaluations are extremely helpful because they tell me what I am doing well at while simultaneously revealing areas where I can improve for future coursework. Other than New’s education system, I love being able to watch the gorgeous sunset right behind College Hall and go on late night food-runs with friends!

Plans after New College: After graduating from New College, I plan on going to graduate school for psychology (I don’t know exactly which division will be my focus, but I’ll find out eventually)! My goal is to either become a psychology professor or practicing psychologist.


New College Student Panel

Students at New College of Florida explain why they selected New College, and how school has changed their lives. New …