Student Ambassadors

Meet our Student Ambassadors

Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Alyssa Borgschulte

Hometown: Acworth, Georgia

High School: Etowah High School

Year at New College: Fourth year/Thesis student

Area of Concentration: Biopsychology

I am a huge animal person who grew up around a lot of animals. I used to compete in hunter-jumper English horseback riding, and I love dolphins! I aspire to be a dolphin trainer. I am constantly trying to go to the beach as much as possible because I love the water. I did a marine mammal training internship at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in the Summer of 2018 and got to work with dolphins, sharks, otters, and pelicans! In Summer of 2019, not only did I do an internship working with dolphins in Key Largo, but collected research for my thesis on environmental enrichment preference in Bottlenose Dolphins.

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.

Campus Activities: I am one of the presidents for the scuba diving club on campus! We help people get certified and go on awesome dives! I am also one of the administrators for Dance Collective, which is a student led club on campus where anyone can dance or choreograph. We have a big showcase at the end of each semester to show off everyone’s hard work! 

Alex Bottorff

Hometown: Venice, Florida

High School: Venice High School

Year at New College: Fourth year/Thesis student

Area of Concentration: Chemistry

I am a fourth-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 open-ended educational and research opportunities have propelled me further than I thought I could go in undergrad at first, and have opened up possibilities for my future.  The small class sizes have given me the opportunity to learn more intimately and develop a more tightly-knit network with my peers and professors.

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.

Alex Conte

Hometown: Orlando

High School: Lake Nona High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Concentration: English / Spanish Language and Literature

Hi, my name is Alex! In my spare time, I enjoy reading, exploring Sarasota, and visiting the bay. Sunset is my favorite part of the day because members of the community (students, faculty, and people from neighboring communities) come to relax and watch the sunset together. I love dogs and there are usually a ton on campus during sunset. I currently serve as the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) representative, as part of the NCSA (student government).

Why I choose New College: New College was my first choice since my freshman year of high school. I picked New College because the college offered small class sizes, rigor, and individualized education. I will admit the lack of grades was odd to me at first, but I now find evaluations to be much more helpful than letter grades for long term improvement. After my first tour, I was really invested in the college because I appreciated the non-traditional education NCF offers. I also liked the campus size since everything is close and within walking distance. I will admit that I looked at other colleges but I picked NCF because it checked all my boxes and I felt the most like home.

Favorite things about New College: Having the ability to meet with professors has been instrumental to my time at New College. I find it easy to contact and maintain a relationship with my advisor and professors because I know they care about me as a person and want to help me succeed. Seeing thesis students at their baccalaureates really showed me how much professors care about students because they have worked with them for several years and get emotional when they are leaving. I love the Writing Resource Center (WRC) on campus, and the writing studies professors because they are so helpful on literally everything and anything. My favorite place on campus to read or write papers is upstairs on one of the plush couches in College Hall because I can see the ocean.

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

Sarah Cooper

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

High School: Oviedo High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Concentration: Religion/Gender Studies

Hi, I’m Sarah Cooper! I’m currently a second year, and I use she/her pronouns. I grew up in Central Florida, so living right by the water is pretty new and exciting for me! I’m currently an RA for 3rd Court, our first year residence hall, which also includes the Success Quest LLC, a Living Learning Community focused on cultivating student leadership. I love exploring new places, creating, and making memories with my New College friends. I can’t wait to see you on campus!

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. The small student population fosters a close-knit community that I am now so proud to be a part of, and the culture here is unlike any other school I’ve seen. After Orientation, I came to see that that culture fosters a friendly, encouraging, and supportive attitude to first years, which is not necessarily something I would have expected going into college. Also, because the campus is so close-knit, I love that there’s almost a guarantee that you’ll run into some friendly faces whenever you walk across campus.

Favorite things about New College: By far my favorite part about New College is the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. The people here are so creative and unique; you’ll never be bored here! I also love that this campus actively tries to be as LGBTQ+ friendly as possible. On a more academic note, I really appreciate the narrative evaluation system that professors use here. 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 their classes, giving feedback on everything from class participation to individual development as a writer. 

Plans after graduation: I hope to be able to travel the world and apply what I’ve learned at New College to wherever I go!

Ormond Derrick

Hometown: Tampa/Dade City, Florida

High School: Land O’ Lakes High School

Year at New College: Fourth year/thesis student

Area of Concentration:  Political Science/Global Health/Spanish

Hi! My Name is Ormond Derrick and I’m a fourth-year Political Science and Global Health AOC, with a slash in Spanish. After being born and raise in Tampa, Florida, my later moved to Dade City and I spent my high school years studying my brains out in Land O’ Lakes IB program. After four long years of studying I decided to come to New College and study even more! With a Mexican-American mother and a British-American father, you could say that my areas of interests (Spanish, the world, and politics) have always been at the forefront of my life. Four years in, and I can tell you that coming to New College was one of the best decisions that I have ever made; in my time here I’ve been able to work for the U.S. Department of Commerce, work with the Florida Public Health Department, and the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva! 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: Fulbright/ Graduate School

Dan Duprez

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia.

High School: Jakarta International School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Environmental Studies/ Neuroscience

Hi, my name is Dan (he/him). Some of my favorite hobbies are Scuba Diving, Sailing, and Photography. My favorite marine organism is the nudibranch. Because of my parents’ occupation in the US State Department I have lived abroad my whole life in West Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia. I love the Florida wildlife and most of all the sunsets. You can catch me many nights at the bayfront taking pictures of the beautifully colored sunsets.

Why I choose New College: Honestly, I did not know what exactly I wanted to do with my life after college and the unique Narrative Evaluation System that New College possesses allowed me more freedom in stepping out of my comfort zone by choosing to take classes in a variety of disciplines that I am interested in. Also, I greatly value travel and New College’s Study Abroad Program stood out among other colleges for its affordability as well as being the only allowing students to travel for a maximum of 3 semesters abroad.

Favorite things about New College: My favorite things about New College are the amazing faculty, intimate classes, the close knit community, and most of all the way New College looks at academics in terms of encouraging holistic growth in their students.

Plans after graduation: I am trying to figure out my passion and if graduate school is for me. Mostly, I am excited for whatever comes next.

Sierra Lamb

Hometown: Savannah, GA

High School: Savannah Arts Academy

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Concentration: International Area Studies

Hi! My name is Sierra, and I am a second year who uses she/her pronouns. I am originally from Savannah, GA and moved to Vero Beach last summer. I am the proud new VP for Queery, and last semester I was a member of the Success Quest LLC for first years and choreographed my first dance for Dance Collective. As someone who grew up dancing and performing, I really enjoyed getting to perform with my fellow dancers and to see different plays and improv events on campus. I am currently pursuing a degree in International Area Studies with a slash in Psychology, as I love learning about new places, cultures, and people. 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 use of written evaluations to judge my performance in a classroom. As someone who disliked the competitive academic environment, I found the evaluations to be more helpful in discussing how I was in the classroom and nurturing the desire to be a better 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 now. The people here are so supportive and encouraging, and I enjoy the deep discussions I have with others. I said it before and I’ll say it again: there is something about New College that brings me peace. 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, whether it be a city halfway across the globe or in the person next to me!

Jennifer Lin

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL

High School: Cypress Bay High School

Year at New College: Fourth year/thesis student

Area of Concentration: Psychology and Political Science

Hi everyone! I am Jennifer. I study Psychology and Political Science at New College. In my research, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive political behavior from a psychological perspective. I am writing my thesis on the moral foundations of political behavior, specifically exploring how moral values influence the way people interpret their political ideology. Outside of New College, I conduct research with faculty members at the Florida International University, Boston University, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and University of Colorado–Boulder as a co-author. Beyond academics, I chartered the NCF Toastmasters club to help students build their skills in public speaking, professionalism, resume development and networking. I also serve as a Career Mentor at the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity, which helps students develop these career-ready skills as well. I look forward to meeting you to talk about your interests, achievements, and how New College can help you grow based on your uniqueness!

Why I chose New College: I chose New College for its academic rigor. No, this is not the typical competitive rigor that is ubiquitous among the finest high schools in the country. It is the rigor that drives you to think beyond the textbook, explore new possibilities and methods of understanding, and putting these tools into practice. Once you are immersed in an area of study, this is fun learning. It is not about doing better than the person next to you, or better than the whole class, even. It is about learning the information that can be applied for a career to come. At NCF, I never study for an exam and forget the material. I never turn in a paper and let the whole thing be over. The material on the exam or the topic of the paper are instrumental to my overall understanding of the topics in my AOC and will help me shape future projects and goals. Of course, small class sizes and opportunities to develop close relationships with the professors are always a plus.

Favorite things about New College: Freedom to create and innovate. There are many opportunities for one to be creative on campus. In the classroom, students are frequently asked to design study proposals and find clever ways to test them. They are encouraged to ask questions, no matter how crazy they seem at face value (There is no such thing as a stupid question here). For the Independent Study Project or Thesis, the power of innovation leads the way for students to design meaningful experiences and learning outcomes. Outside of class, students can chart their course in campus involvement through the wealth of established organizations. If there is not one, students are able to start their own. Even campus parties are filled with imagination and innovation, and these are great opportunities to draw the campus together and bond. Such an opportunity is not available at any other college or university.

Plans after graduation: I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in either Psychology or Political Science. Whichever way I go, I plan to focus my research in understanding the development and crystallization of political attitudes and behaviors, and how external social forces influence these mechanisms. After this, I plan to pursue a research career at a university where I hope to one day mentor students who are passionate about academia and allow them to have the same opportunities that I was able to get thanks to the resources here at New College.

Caroline Link

Hometown: Newburyport, Massachusetts

High School: Newburyport High School

Year at New College: Second Year

Area of Concentration: Marine Biology

Hi there! My name is Caroline. I’m in my second year here 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! I love scuba diving and just generally being outdoors, and also work in the Office of the Registrar.

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.

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.

Marena Long

Hometown: Telford, Tennessee

High School: David Crockett High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Marine Biology

My name is Marena Long. I’m from Tennessee, but I have a passion for the ocean. Especially sharks and marine mammals. I love hiking, paddle boarding, traveling, 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

Freddie O’Brion

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

High School: T.R. Robinson High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Studio Art

Hello, I’m Freddie (they/them), a third-year studio-art AOC! In addition to my position as a Student Ambassador, I work several jobs on campus and run some clubs (including Queery, the LGBTQ+ club). When I’m not working on a painting or hanging out in my dorm (the Pride LLC), you can probably find me reading at the bayfront or cooking a new recipe with my friends.

Why I choose New College: I heard a lot of good things about New College when I was researching schools—from the welcoming community to the excellent academics, it seemed like a great school. The deciding moment for me was touring the beautiful campus. When I saw it all in real life, I knew that it was where I wanted to spend the next four years

Favorite things about New College: I love the close-knit community here—it’s easy to meet interesting people and build a good group of friends. I also really value the narrative evaluation system. I appreciate that my professors can help me improve my shortcomings and let me know what I succeeded at.

Plans after graduation: I hope to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s in fine art. After that, I’m interested in becoming a character designer or concept artist.

Arantxa Prince

Hometown: Orlando, Fl

High School: Olympia High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Sociology/ History

Hello! My name is Arantxa Prince and I am a third year Sociology AOC with a slash in History. 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.

Ben Valen

Hometown: Marathon, Florida

High School: Island Christian High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Psychology

Hey y’all! My name is Ben and I’m a third 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 deal breaker—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 graduation: After graduating from New College, I plan on going to graduate school for social psychology to continue my research focused on LGBTQ+ individuals and other minority groups (My main research interests in social psychology are close relationships, intergroup processes, and in-group/out-group dynamics)! My goal is to become a professor of social psychology and eventually run my own lab.

Jacob Wentz

Hometown: Ocala, Florida

High School: Gulf High School

Year at New College: Fourth year/thesis student

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 …