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: Third 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.

Liz Avila

Hometown: Miami, FL

High School: Southwest Miami High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies, Political Science and Philosophy

Hi! I was born in Cuba and moved to the United States with my family when I was twelve. I love to learn from other cultures, contemplate upon our kaleidoscopic interaction with world and be challenged in my understanding of it. I like being in nature, reading, dancing, cooking and spending time with my friends and family. I am passionate about social service and community activism and hope to become a useful public servant after my studies.

Why I Chose New College: There was something missing in all the schools I was applying to. And then I found New College! The size of classes, the academic freedom and rigor, and its reputation as a college that changes lives, perfectly aligned with my interests. New College prides itself in its politically involved student body and its commitment toward ecstatic wonder, and that was exactly the college environment I was seeking.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the people at NCF. The students have interesting stories to tell and are passionate about academics, the arts, improving their communities and making a difference. The faculty is incredibly helpful and goes above and beyond to see students succeed. Also, since the weather is always lovely I can easily find places all over campus to study outside!

Plans after Graduation: I plan to move to Washington D.C., after college and acquire work experience before going to graduate school.

Alyssa Borgschulte

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

Garrett Bosch

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

High School: The Bolles School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Economics/Finance

Hi! I’m a Florida native who grew up walking distance from the beach, so naturally I love to surf, skate, and just be outside in general. However, I also have love for my indoor activities including video games and books. My real passion in life is cars; ask me anything about any car and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get back to you within a day! I have one younger sister who will be graduating from Bolles in 2018, and we’re best friends. I also have a white mini goldendoodle named Ruby who’s been with the family for 13 years now.

Why I Chose New College: New’s unique social and academic atmosphere was something I simply could not pass up during my college search. The one-on-one time with professors, small classes, and reputation of the college with graduate schools made it an academic dream for me. Also, the total acceptance mindset adopted by all students here made me feel encouraged to be myself. I also really enjoy the extracurricular activities offered by the school, including the sail team and the high quality theatrical performances sponsored by students.

Favorite Things about New College: The things I love most at New College include the campus and the activities that are hosted on it. The year-round beautiful weather allows for me to study with a great view of the bay, or take advantage of the resources in the library. Also, the vast number and range of clubs on campus has allowed me to pursue any and all extracurricular activities that I can think of. Even if a club or activity doesn’t exist on campus, New College has made it extremely easy for me to start a group on my own. For example, I am the co-founder and co-captain of the New College intramural basketball team which competes in a local league.

Plans after New College: I plan to attend law school to pursue a legal degree specializing in international intellectual property law, as I would like to use the Chinese language skills I have and will acquire during my time here. I also plan to go to post-graduate school to pursue an LLM in international business and economic law.

Alex Bottorff

Hometown: Venice, Florida

High School: Venice High School

Year at New College: Second 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.

Ormond Derrick

Hometown: Tampa/Dade City, Florida

High School: Land O’ Lakes High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest:  Political Science/Global Public Heath/Spanish

Hi! My Name is Ormond Derrick and I’m a 2nd year Political Science and International Studies (with a focus on Global Public Health) AOC, with a slash in Spanish. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, and later moved to Dade City with my parents, sister and brother where I joined the Gifted, and later IB program. After studying my brains out for four years, I decided to come to New College and study even more! I come from a Mexican-American and British-American household, so Spanish, the world, and politics have always been at the forefront of my life. Coming to New College I’ve had some amazing opportunities including studying corporate interests and lobbying in Washington D.C., working with the Public Health Department to tackle substance abuse, and working with the United Nations for Human Rights and Sustainable Development! When I’m not studying or sleeping, I really like to go down the Lido Beach or St. Armand’s circle and enjoy the town, and embrace my Floridian roots.

Why I chose new College: It was affordable and offered one of the best educations

Favorite things about New College: Small Class Sizes and Research Opportunities

Plans after graduation: Law School/Public Office

Kara Grissom

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School: Blake High School

Year at New College: Third 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.

Giulia Heyward

Hometown: Miami, Florida

High School: Coral Gables Sr. High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of study: Publication Studies (Specialized AOC)

I grew up in a biracial household where chitlins and bruschetta were equally fought over at the dinner table. I am the editor-in-chief of the Catalyst, our student-run newspaper, and the editor-in-chief of the Tangent, our student-run news magazine. I am also one of the editors of Aeolus, our undergraduate research journal. I am the photographer and creator of the “As We Are New College” project, a photo series that depicts the lived experiences of students of color attending a predominantly white institution. I am also active in our black history month planning committee and our black student union, where i am the public relations officer! My biggest claim to fame might be as your local mail girl, as i can be found on any day zooming across campus on a golf cart distributing packages around campus!

Why I chose New College: New college was able to give me a liberal-arts education while also still allowing me to stay in close proximity to my family! I wanted to attend a school that placed a greater value on academic rigor and social activism  than on greek life!

Favorite thing about New College/ Sarasota: I feel like a “big fish in a small pond” in Sarasota. There are so many jobs and internships available to college students — I’m never in need of an opportunity here.

Plans after graduation: I am taking a gap year in Sarasota to work in my field of choice (journalism) and complete applications for grad school! I plan on getting a masters in digital or multiplatform journalism!

Mackenna Jensen

Hometown: Norwalk, Ohio

High School: Norwalk High School

Year at New College: Third 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.

Emma Kervel

Hometown: Miami, Florida

High School: Coral Reef High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: English and Theater

Hi! My name is Emma Kervel, I use she/her pronouns, and I’m from Miami, Fl. I’m a fourth-year student at New College and I’m currently writing my thesis to complete an English/theater combined AOC. I have loved the theater world and performing since long before I can remember and I’m thrilled to be producing an original play as part of my thesis. I love singing, especially choral music; I am in my sixth semester with the New College chorus and sing on the weekends for a local church choir. I ‘m also on the board of the Windmill Theater Co., one of New College’s major resources for organizing and producing student-led theatrical performances. In my free time, I enjoy playing catch by the New College Bayfront with Conan, my 1-year-old puppy, and going to the movies with my partner and roommates at the local $2 cinema.

Why I chose new College: I was really drawn to New College because of the low student/faculty ratio (11:1) and the small classes. New College also offered me a great scholarship and, as a Florida resident, I was also able to apply my Bright Futures scholarship to tuition, which made New College extremely affordable for me and my family. What really sealed the deal for me was the final stop on my campus tour… the absolutely stunning Bayfront at College Hall made me feel right at home!

Favorite things about New College: The Bayfront at sunset, the collaborative atmosphere, the unique and interesting people who make up our community, and the great location!

Plans after graduation:  After graduation, I’m planning to work in town for one of the many local theater companies in Sarasota as administrative staff. I’d like to work my way up to event planning or operations management someday and hope to be able to travel throughout the country and perhaps work abroad with a touring company in the future!

Hannah Procell

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

High School: Oviedo High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest:  International Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology

I’m not your average 21 year old. Although I was born and raised in the Sunshine State, my heart has always called out for the world, for people and places which prove the magnificence of human existence. As long as I can remember, I’ve been told I was so mature for my age, every adult who knew me well would tell me I was an “old soul.” At the age of 13, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I grew up faster than I thought possible. Caring for my mother helped me realized that I would find fulfillment in life through helping others. In high school I traveled alone to Washington, D.C., for a “Human Rights and Genocide Summit for Teens.” My experiences at the summit caused my entire understanding of the world to take on a new form. The world is confusing, crazy, and in many circumstances, a devastating place. When I am surrounded by the powerful passion of teens and young adults, rays of hope shine through darkness, and I know my vision for a loving and peaceful world is not naive at all. I am currently writing my senior thesis on the mass incarceration of Palestinian youth as a catalyst for social movement mobilization and socio-political change. Drop me a line if you want to talk about studying human rights, international law and politics, conflict to peace processes, the sociology of social justice and youth advocacy, or African anthropology, these were my academic specialties at New College.

Why I chose new College: When I was applying to New College, I found myself truly enthralled by the idea that my academic value would not be reduced to a percentage grade. In middle and high school I was always slow and full of anxiety when taking tests, and the freedom I found at New College made me feel academically and personally liberated. It only took me one month of classes to realize I could never imagine myself engaging in higher learning in any other environment.

Favorite things about New College: One of the best things about our school is the people. Your peers are kind hearted, helpful, and supportive of everyone being their own unique self, period! I love how we do not have fraternities and sororities, 3 full years here and I’ve never been hit on by jock who only cares about my looks! My favorite club on campus is Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Since my first year at New College I have gone to conferences, spearheaded petition drives and peer education campaigns, and trained members of my community in methods of harm reduction. I’m now the president of New College’s SSDP chapter, and I would love to tell you more about the organization and how you can get involved!

Plans after graduation: I’m going to save up money and I will probably buy a van and transform it into a beautiful home to live out of while traveling Europe for several months. Then I will move to Oregon and pursue a job in the drug policy reform movement. I will eventually join the Peace Corps and serve as a volunteer for two years somewhere in the world. After my service, I’ll think about going to grad school or adopting some kiddies.

Eugenia Quintanilla

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

High School: Seminole High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: Psychology/Political Science

Originally from Venezuela, I moved to Florida 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 in high school. At NCF I continued to dance by participating in Dance Collective, a bi-annual showcase program, as a choreographer, dancer, and an administrator since my first semester. In my third year, I studied abroad in the Netherlands through National Student Exchange and was able to travel and take courses in The Hague University of Applied Sciences in political science and communications. I love traveling to new places, eating new foods, and hanging out with my cat, Persephone.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of the academic rigor and the unique learning environment. 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.

Favorite Things about New College: The student community is my favorite part of NCF. I love how friendly everyone is and open to having fun conversation. I love seminar classes for this exact reason. Sunsets are also incredible here.

Plans after New College: In the fall of 2018, I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in political science, with a focus on American politics. Before then, I’ll be working at Serious Fun camp over the summer in Eustis, Florida.

Kailah Santos

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School: Land O’ Lakes High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Interest: English and Spanish Literature

I’m originally from New York, but spent most of my childhood in Tampa. My family is from Puerto Rico which sparked my interest in studying Spanish as well as the experiences of Latin American people in the United States and how that transforms both English and Spanish languages. My third year I studied abroad in Leon, Spain and I also traveled to several other European countries and spent a few weeks in Morocco. This past summer I received an opportunity through the Leadership Alliance to complete summer research in the English department at Stanford University and present my work at my program’s annual conference in Connecticut. I love theater and performance as well and this year I am directing a play I wrote in contribution to my senior thesis.

Why I Chose New College: I was in the International Baccalaureate program in high school and from that experience I knew I wanted to go to a liberal arts schools that also offered a holistic education. New College’s contract-based narrative evaluation system and affordability won me over. I’ve had the freedom here to explore all my academic interests without having to worry about measuring my academic progress and worth by a GPA. New College has offered me so many opportunities within and outside of the institution and my professors and peers have challenged what I thought possible to learn and experience in just four years.

Favorite Things about New College: Basic sunsets at the Bay and Four Winds Café

Plans after New College: I would like to travel around the U.S. and Latin America and eventually pursue a Ph.D. in comparative literature

Sara Sheffer

Hometown: Langhorne, Pennsylvania

High School: Villa Victoria Academy

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Marine Biology

I am from the Philadelphia suburbs, and from the time I was very young I knew I wanted to live near the ocean and study marine biology. I came from a very small, close-knit high school.  I am a pretty extroverted person. I enjoy scuba diving and being outdoors, especially anywhere by the water. I love traveling, and am always planning where I will go next.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its excellent marine biology program and lab, its beautiful warm and sunny campus, and its friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the campus, in particular the gorgeous sunsets on the bayfront, as well as the narrative evaluation system which provides me with deeper insight into my performance in my classes.

Plans after New College: I hope to go on to veterinary school!

Maria Simmerling

Hometown: Port Jefferson, New York

High School: Earl L. Vandermeulen High School

Year at New College: Fourth (Thesis Student)

Area of Interest: Chemistry/Biology

I was born in San Francisco, CA and moved to Port Jefferson, N.Y., when I was very young. I have always been very interested in medicine and science in general. I love hiking and being outdoors as well as reading. Harry Potter is my favorite book series, I relate strongly to Hermione. I’m always working on at least two knitting projects and can always be found with a coffee cup in hand.

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: I love being around the students who are all so unique and getting to be part of such a close knit community.

Plans after Graduation: I plan on becoming an EMT and working in an emergency room while I apply to medical school and then going to med school somewhere up North.

Eleni Spanolios

Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida

High School:  Palm Harbor University High School

Year at New College: Third 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.

Katie Thurson

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

High School: Stanton College Prep

Year at New College: Third 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.

Jacob Wentz

Hometown: Ocala, Florida

High School: Gulf High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies, French, and Economics

Hey! My name’s Jacob. I grew up on a small farm in New Port Richey, Florida, where most of my time was occupied by animals, nature, and barn work. I knew that I wanted my life to be different than my parents’, so I focused on my education and challenged myself in both the gifted program and the International Baccalaureate program. Thanks to my British mum, I have dual citizenship in the U.S. and UK and have always been interested in life across the pond. I’m passionate about music; I play alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone and work for the Sarasota Orchestra. I’m also one of the editors for our student-run newspaper, the Catalyst. In my free time, I like to go on casual runs, hang out with friends, and eat breakfast foods.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its small size and value. I knew that I wanted to be a leader in a small environment as opposed to a number in an overwhelmingly large community, and the quality of education for the price is unbeatable. I was also really drawn to the artistic environment around Sarasota; the orchestra, the opera, the museums, etc.

Favorite Things about New College: I really appreciate the personal connections that professors have with students and the amount of academic freedom that each student is given.

Plans after New College: I plan on going to graduate school for either international business, law, or journalism. I’m also interested in applying for teaching grants in Europe. In all honesty, I’m not quite sure yet.

New College Student Panel

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