Student Ambassadors

Our student ambassadors are here to answer questions about student life and the academic experience.

Meet Our Student Ambassadors

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!

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!

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.

New College Student Panel

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