New College STARS

Meet our Student Admissions Representatives.

Meet Our Student Admissions Representatives

Jeeda AbuKhader

Hometown: Amman, Jordan

High School: Amman National School

Year at New College: First Year

Area of Interest: International Business/ Accounting and Finance

Bio: I was born and raised in Jordan. I have a passion for travelling 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, English and Spanish. 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.

Destinee Aponte

Hometown: Born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, currently residing in Miami

High School: Miami Lakes Educational Center

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Area of Interest: Biopsychology

Bio: Wildlife has always fascinated me- especially marine life. After living in Miami for a few years, the exposure to the beaches made my love for marine life even greater! Animal Behavior/Cognition with a focus on marine mammals is something I see myself doing the future. Aside from that, I absolutely love music, dancing, Ted Talks and Tarantino films. Let’s talk about things!

Why I Chose New College: NCF was the only school I considered attending in the state of Florida, and I never regret that. NCF caters to my needs to have academic independence, and I have been given opportunities that I know wouldn’t have been offered to me in other schools.

Favorite Things about New College: The small student body is something I always appreciate. You become familiar with pretty much every face of New College and there is a sense of community that goes with that and it feels great!


Qake Cooley

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School: Wesley Chapel High School

Year at New College: Third Year

Area of Interest: Literature, Spanish, Theatre, Religion

Bio: I grew up over the course of some 18 years in Tampa, FL, then I came to New College after a high school experience comprised mostly of tomfoolery, AP classes, staying out late, vidya games, and balloon twisting as my one-and-only-job. Despite applying to 17 other colleges, all but two of which were outside my home state of Florida, New College proved the perfect choice for me, because it provided an extraordinary education at an in-state price, as well as a haven where I may become the person I strive to be, unaffected by many of the typical social strictures that I’ve seen in other, more traditional schools. New College is my home, and I can’t wait to help you explore it!

Why I Chose New College: No grades! Academic rigor! Bare feet! Freedom!

Favorite Things about New College: The Four Windz, a 24/7 billiards table, rampant bare feet, the Bay, the Academic Freedom that manifests in ISP and tutorials, co-ed dorms, Newstock (anall-day outdoor music festival), the maintenance staff, the professors, New Music New College, UBorrow, the Pink Mansion aka College Hall, free access to the Ringling, the liberation of being accepted as myself.

Plans after New College: To return as a camp counselor to the mountains of North Carolina, then to tour North and South America as a traveling balloon artist/poet-for-hire, then to settle for a time in a city working low-key at a hostel during which I will put together a literary portfolio and apply to teach English abroad through a Fulbright grant.


Cayli Caruso

Hometown: Palm Harbor, Florida

High School: Palm Harbor University High School

Previous College: University of Central Florida

Year at New College: Third Year

Area of Interest: Spanish/Theater

Bio: I am a transfer student who joined New College my first year and I haven’t looked back since. I love people, entertainment of all sorts and learning as much as I can in any given opportunity. My interests include video games and anime, cooking and baking, going out to explore (Sarasota has so many nooks and crannies!), participating in/going to theatrical events, and long walks by the bay.

Why I Chose New College: I have made so many amazing friends here whom I love as people and respect as academic peers. I love the small class sizes. The fact that professors know not only my name, but also my goals, strengths and weaknesses allows for engagement that you don’t get anywhere else.

Favorite Things about New College: New College has such a vibrant campus life, there’s always something going on, and the people here are so unique. I don’t have to float around with a bunch of strangers; I see every student here as a friend-to-be.


Anne Emig

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan

High School: City High School

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Area of Interest: Chemistry

Bio: I grew up in Michigan, and spent many summers swimming in the Great Lakes and many winters hiding from the snow and cold. I love discussing feminism, gender disparities in science, fluorescence, and anything related to chemistry. If I’m not in the lab or library, I’m probably riding my bike, running long distances, or enjoying a beautiful Sarasota sunset! I feel most at home when I’m hiking in the mountains or lounging outside. After graduating New College, I plan on spending a few months exploring the Pacific Northwest and then go to graduate school to study physical organic chemistry.

Why I Chose New College: I liked the idea of getting to know my professors well, being responsible for my own learning, and living in a warm place. I had no idea what I wanted to study in high school, and New College offered a lot of flexibility.

Favorite Things about New College: The hammocks in banyans! Also, the narrative evaluation system, my professors, the research opportunities, and the feeling that you’re well-prepared for graduate school.


Edline Francois

Hometown: Delray Beach, FL

High School/Previous College: Atlantic High School/ Palm Beach State College

Years at NCF: Second Year

Academic Area(s) of Interest: Biology

Bio: Hey y’all! I am a third-year transfer student with a passion for fashion and biology. At a young age, I fell in love with the basic elements that composed life and here I am at New College pursing it! Additionally, I have an emphatic interest in women’s health and public health. Hence, I aspire to become an obstetrician/gynecologist or a nurse-midwife sometime in the future. Currently, I am interning at the Department of Health Sarasota County to experience public health from a clinical and administrative perspective.

On another note, my hobbies include eating, sleeping, shopping. 🙂

Why I chose new College: I chose New College because of the small ratio between students and faculty. New also provided a unique learning atmosphere that enabled me to maximize my potential.

Favorite things about New College: At New College you feel the sense of a community that is led mainly by students. I think that this stems from having a small student body, and I truly appreciate this unique quality that our school upholds.

Plans after graduation: After New I plan on traveling for a year, then pursue my master’s degree in public health.


Tricia Johnson

Hometown: Cocoa, Florida

High School: Cocoa Beach High School

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Areas of Interest: Literature/Anthropology

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.


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: Fourth Year

Areas of Interest: Economics and Public Policy

Bio: I am a third 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.


Kayla Kisseadoo

Hometown: Davie, FL

High School: St. Thomas Aquinas
Year at New College: First Year

Academic Area(s) of Interest: Political Science, Philosophy

Bio: I was born and raised in south Florida with a passion for food, traveling and sleep. I spent my summer after high school interning for a congressman on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I hope to attend law school in the future and become a crisis manager. I also love animals, and long walks on the beach.

Why I Chose New College: The academic program. It is small, and I feel as though I had more room for opportunity. It’s nice to know my professors recognize my face and name, rather than just another number in a lecture hall.

Favorite Things about New College: The strong sense of community among students as well as the resources.

Plans After Graduation: I hope to attend law school in the future and become a crisis manager.


Isaac Quiros Lum

Hometown: Tampa, FL

High School: Gaither High School

Year at New College: First Year

Area of Interest: Applied Mathematics/ Economics

Bio: I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. In high school, I worked as a server at Steak n’ Shake. These days, I spend a lot of time running across campus reliving the glory of track and field. I love being outdoors and I love speaking Spanish any chance I get. If you get me talking, I’ll never stop so be careful!

Why I Chose New College: When I chose New College, I had no idea what I would choose to study. I felt that New College would offer me the academic freedom to explore all of my interests! Plus, who wouldn’t want to go to a school directly on the water!

Favorite Things about New College: I love the relationships that are created in the close-knit community. I love the campus itself, the landscaping is so beautiful! And I love spending time with my roommates!


Cliff Lundin

Hometown: Hopatcong, New Jersey

High School: Hopatcong High School

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Area of Interest: Social Psychology

Bio: The town where I grew up is a small lake community a little less than an hour outside of New York City. I enjoy traveling and welcome new experiences whenever they come my way. I have traveled throughout much of the United States and want to continue venturing through the world after I graduate. I am currently a fourth-year thesis student examining the ways in which people manage their impression in online environments. I also work as a telecounselor for the admissions office. After graduating from NCF, I plan to continue my education to study Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for its small, personal feel and strong academic grounding.

Favorite Things about New College: My friends and the people I’ve met at New College are some of the best people I know. I love that I have freedom in my academic choices which has allowed me to become more independent and confident in my decisions.


Kat Malone

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Year at New College: Third Year

Area of Interest: Religious Studies (focus Jewish &Christian Studies), English

Bio: Hello! My name is Kat, and I am a third-year Religious Studies and English AOC at NCF. I focus in Jewish and Christian studies, with a particular interest in religious texts. I also work in the tea shop at Selby Botanical Gardens (stop by if you can, it is beautiful!). When I’m not at work or class, I like to bake, read web comics, and drink copious amounts of tea with my three-legged cat. I can also be found kayaking, boating, or traveling as often as I can. After graduating from New College, I hope to join Teach for America before pursuing a master’s degree in religious studies.


Nicki Myers

Hometown: Gainesville, FL

High School: Oak Hall Upper School

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Areas of Interest: General Natural Sciences

Bio: Hey Ya’ll! My name is Nicki and I love science, horseback riding, scuba diving, and being a camp counselor. I have an amazing cat named Toby and a sweet dog named Bonnie. Eventually, I want to be a pediatric occupational therapist that helps children with disabilities through horseback riding. So, if anyone has questions about health sciences please feel free to ask!

Why I Chose New College: I fell in love with New College at first sight. The campus was beautiful, the people seemed awesome, and the small size was very appealing. In addition, I am not a very good test taker. I knew that New College’s narrative evaluation system would allow my potential to shine

Favorite Things about New College: The culture at New College is so fun and unique. People feel as though they can truly be themselves. Some people wear shoes, some don’t – some of my professors don’t even wear shoes! Also, I have been able to have a personal relationship with all of my professors. Professors who I had for one semester my first year will flag me down on the sidewalk just to see how I am doing. In short, this college is such a great place because they want to see you succeed. There are numerous, easy access resources that will help you no matter what you are studying. College is hard, but New College makes an effort to make it a little easier. This is a community that really cares about you and helps you graduate at the top of your potential.

Eugenia Quintanilla

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

High School: Seminole High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Interest: Psychology/Russian Language and Literature

Bio: Originally from Venezuela, I moved to the United States when I was 8 years old. Before I got to NCF, I was very involved in dance team as well as the International Baccalaureate program. Through my time in high school I realized that dance was a wonderful way for me to bond with my peers and express myself. I noticed changes that participation in dance had resulted in for my body and mind and realized that I wanted to investigate these further. I’m really interested in seeing how psychology and dance interact and how participating in dance throughout one’s life can affect a person in all sorts of dynamic ways. I love choreographing and performing and am the administrator for New College’s resident dance showcase; Dance Collective. I really enjoy all kinds of food and traveling and I adore listening to music.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College after realizing that everything I was looking for in an university and in an academic college experience wasn’t being offered by my top choices. Furthermore, the financial aid that New College offered me was a great incentive; especially comparing how much an education would have cost at the other schools I applied to. Being close to home and yet far away to really feel independent was also important in my decision. The sunsets and the beautiful campus were the cherries on top of an awesome sundae.

Favorite Things about New College: The unique community by far is my favorite things. There are a lot of quirky spaces on campus and the people that study here are so interesting to talk to!

Alex Schelle

Hometown: Orlando, FL

High School: Boone High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Areas of Interest: Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science)

Bio: I’m interested in people and forming connections with others. I like studying people, bonding with people, and working with people toward making this world a better place. I took a gap year in Paraguay before coming to New College, and those two decisions were the best ones I’ve yet to make! I’m grateful for the ways New College challenges me to grow and supports me at the same time. I love going to the free yoga classes taught here by a beloved New College alum, and I consider the bay my sanctuary.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because it was the perfect combination of affordability, nearness to home but not too near, absence of grades (finally!!), a beautiful campus, and most of all, a wonderful community of curious and caring human beings.

Favorite Things about New College: The bay! The overpass, the conversations, the hugs, the approachability of professors, the acceptance and the boundless opportunities.


Logan Schulman

Hometown: Winter Springs, FL

High School: Seminole High School

Year at New College: Third Year

Areas of Interest: Theater/Religion

Bio: I was born in Philadelphia, but grew up in Central Florida for the great majority of my childhood. Due to my nearness to the world of theme parks, I grew up loving the idea of entertainment for entertainment’s sake, and through that love I found my passion in the dramatic arts. Since high school I have been lucky enough to travel to New York, Vermont, Boston, Miami, and London all in the pursuit of a career in theater. Here at New College I focus primarily on experimental and socially conscious theatre, with specialization in ritual theory shared between dramatic art and faith. I am heavily involved in our theater company on campus, and in the technical aspects of live performance art on campus. Also, my heart belongs to Star Wars; long live Star Wars.

Why I Chose New College: I decided on New College in the eighth grade when my older sister toured the school. I fell in love with the brilliant and beautiful atmosphere that has been cultivated here. When it came time for me to start looking at colleges in my junior year of high school, the only question that remained for me was: Can I pursue my theater and my academic goals at New College? And as it turned out, I am more than able to! Very few (if any) BFA programs allow for the kind of academic freedom that the liberal arts curriculum at New College allows; here I can learn for the sheer sake of pursuit of knowledge whilst studying rigorous theater theory!

Favorite Things about New College: What I love at New is the freedom given to students in both the academic and social capacities. We live and we learn here as independent adults, with primarily our integrity and notion of responsibility as our greatest guides. Here we learn to exist as productive, thoughtful people who can go out into the world and shake it up for the better. Every person here is totally committed to their own learning and the expansion of their own mind — and every person wants to share their knowledge with everyone else. We love thought-provoking dialogue here, and that is just the greatest darn thing.


Maria Simmerling

Hometown: Born in San Francisco, raised in Port Jefferson, New York

High School: Earl L. Vandermeulen High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Interest: Natural Sciences and Global Healthcare

Bio: Since I was little, I have always loved dancing. I love all styles of dance and now help run the New College student run dance showcase. I love cooking (and eating), especially Mexican, Indian and Thai food. I want to travel the world before settling down and that is one of the reasons I want to do global healthcare. I am passionate about Harry Potter. I’m obsessed with coffee. I love scary movies and sharks. Oh, also, I’ve been skydiving and it was absolutely amazing.

Why I Chose New College: New College was my top choice. I wanted a school where I could take the classes I want with people who think in a similar way to me. New College allows me to constantly challenge myself and be challenged by those around me. I’m always learning new things whether I’m in class or not. By the end of my first year, I could tell that even the way I thought had changed so much and that coming here was the best decision I’ve made.

Favorite Things about New College: One of my favorite things about New College is the people. No matter where you are on campus, people are always asking you about yourself and how you are. The community here at New is so strong. I’ve never seen so many people who care so much about each other.


Emily Steen

Hometown: Miami, Florida

High School: Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Previous College: University of Central Florida

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Interest: Biopsychology and Natural Sciences

Bio: Hello! I am a second-year transfer student from the University of Central Florida, studying Biopsychology and Natural Sciences. I love to explore, travel and cook. I hope to end up in medical school or graduate school after New College, and further my education! My main goal in life is to be able to travel around the world and learn about different cultures and lifestyles.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of the academic rigor and all of the research opportunities afforded to undergraduate students.

Favorite Things about New College: The small size of New College really makes the experience. It allows for a truly personal academic experience for each student, and the ability to guide and personalize your own education.


Kaylie Stokes

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ / West Palm Beach, FL

High School: G-Star School of the Arts

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Areas of Interest: Social Sciences (History, Anthropology, Political Science)

Bio: I grew up in Phoenix Arizona before moving to West Palm Beach a few years ago where I attended a high school for film. I love filmmaking and work as a videographer for the Communications and Marketing Department. I am a third year Social Sciences AOC who likes to keep busy around campus. During the school year I am a Resident Advisor in one of the first year halls and the managing editor of the school paper. I love to travel and am constantly planning my next trip.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its academic philosophy and belief in student independence.

Favorite Things about New College: The fact that the academic freedom and independence built into its structure has allowed me to accomplish and do things that I’ve always wanted. Also the people. I’ve met the most wonderful people here.


Katie Thurson

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

High School: Stanton College Prep

Year at New College: First Year

Area of Interest: Religion, History

Bio: I am a first year at New College and I am so excited to join the Admissions team! I’m from Jacksonville, FL. I have a twin sister, a younger sister, and a wonderful beagle named Rosalind Carter. I love history and working at summer camp! This summer will be my fifth year as camp staff and my second year as part of the Leadership Team.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College I wanted academic freedom without having to sacrifice rigor or the integrity of the program. I love the community New College offers!

Favorite Things about New College: New College has so many things to love: the bay, pantagles at the Four Winds, tye-dye parties, and pizza parties in the Library’s co-lab! I also love the community between students and faculty at New College!


James Wells

Hometown: Fort Myers, FL

High School: Riverdale High School

Year at New College: Third Year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies

Bio: I was born in Naples, then my family moved to Tallahassee, then back down to Fort Myers. In high school I went through the International Baccalaureate Program and played Quidditch and some football. Now I am at New College of Florida and study Spanish, Chinese, and international politics. I participate in the NCSA (New College Student Alliance) as a Justice in the Student court. I am involved with Chinese club, and play football on the best college football team in Florida. New College has given me the opportunity to intern at the Institute for Multitrack Diplomacy in Washington D.C.

Why I Chose New College: When I was looking for a college to attend, I wanted an honors college, preferably small, inexpensive, and fairly close to home. New college offered everything on my list and more.

Favorite Things about New College: The small atmosphere of the college allows me to not only know all of my peers, but all of my professors as well. The welcoming atmosphere also makes it extremely easy to be outgoing and get involved with extracurricular activities on campus.


Madeleine Yount

Hometown: Sebastian, Florida

High School: Indian River Charter High School

Year at New College: Fourth Year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies Issue Track of Development

Bio: Hi! My name is Madeleine and I am a fourth-year at New College. I am student writing assistant (SWA) in the Writing Resource Center (WRC) and I am the CEO Student Consultant. I study International and Area Studies but I mainly focus on education policy in Northeast Brazil. After graduation, I hope to become a lawyer, working on education policy and juvenile incarcerations. Most importantly, I hope to have a fulfilling life. New College is the best!

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for its academic rigor and small population.

Favorite Things about New College: It’s awesome being so casual with professors, going to walls (on-campus community parties) and especially attending the Gatsby party each year at the Caples Bayfront campus