Student Ambassadors

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

Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Alyssa Boynton

Hometown: Slayton, Minnesota

High School: Murray County Central High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Psychology

Hi! My name is Alyssa and my pronouns are she/her. I’m originally from Minnesota and moved to Sarasota for college, so the heat has been a big change for me! Along with working in admissions, I work in the Student Success Center (SSC), I act as co-captain of the NCF mock trial team, I’m the student government Admissions Representative, and I help oversee the first-year seminar program (SETSAIL). Academically, I’m really interested in developmental psychology, Montessori education, and the sociology of gender and relationships. Outside of school, I love sailing on the Bay, hiking, and cooking! I’m so excited to show you New College!

Why I Chose New College: I applied (and was accepted to) quite a few prestigious schools, but I fell in love with New College on my tour. I remember seeing the stickers on the mailboxes and the giant beanbag in the library and talking to Steven, the NCSA (student government) President at the time, while I was getting lunch. New College has all these amazing quirks and even more amazing students and professors.

I also came for the narrative evaluations. I was my high school’s valedictorian, but I realized during my senior year that I didn’t care about school anymore, I only cared about getting the A. The narrative evaluations here have helped me reclaim my education and focus on my growth instead of an arbitrary letter or number. I feel so incredibly lucky to have made the choice to come here, and even if I could go back, I would do it all over again.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the academic freedom. I was able to switch my AOC to a whole new field this fall after I realized over quarantine that I wanted to do something totally different, and my professors supported me 100%. I’m currently taking a class at a nearby school through our cross-registration program, I’m already planning a tutorial (a class you design yourself with a faculty sponsor) and an internship for next year, and I have some great thesis ideas already! At New College, the faculty will find a way to help you do absolutely anything you want to pursue.

Plans after graduation: I plan to become a Montessori guide (teacher), probably for ages 3-6!

Alex Conte

Hometown: Orlando

High School: Lake Nona High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: English with a minor in Rhetoric and Writing

Hi, my name is Alex! I currently serve as the student representative for the Counseling and Wellness Center and work in the Writing Resource Center (WRC) as a Student Writing Assistant (SWA). In my spare time, I enjoy reading and exploring Sarasota. My favorite part of the day is sunset because members of the community (students, faculty, and townies with dogs) come to relax and watch the sunset together.

Why I choose New College: I first heard about New College as a freshman in high school. After touring the college it remained my top choice because of the small class sizes, rigor, and individualized approach to education. For the most part, I toured other small (mostly private) liberal arts colleges but I picked NCF because I felt the most at home on this campus. The lack of grades was odd to me at first, but I find evaluations to be much more helpful than letter grades. Narrative evaluations are great for tracking academic progress and obtaining personalized feedback for my work. I highly recommend that if you are interested in New College to visit and take a tour of the campus and sit in on a few classes. 

Favorite things about New College: I love that I am able to connect with professors and staff on-campus to form meaningful relationships. I know my professors and advisor see me as a person and not as a number which is something that I find beneficial as I know they care about me and want to see me succeed. I enjoy watching students present and defend their thesis during baccalaureate week. You really see how proud the professors are of their graduating students and also how emotional the room becomes due to the bonds formed over several years. My favorite resource on-campus is the Writing Resource Center. It’s a great place to be productive and to obtain help on papers and midterms —or to grab a coffee and chat with SWA’s. My top study/writing spot is on one of the plush couches on the upstairs floor of College Hall. It is a calming place to do work because of the view which overlooks the bay!

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

Sarah Cooper

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

High School: Oviedo High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Religion

Hi, I’m Sarah Cooper! I’m currently a third year, and I use she/her pronouns. I grew up in Central Florida, so living on the coast right by the water is still new and exciting for me! I’ve been working for Admissions since my first year, and I’ve also been an RA for 3rd Court, our first-year residence hall, which 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. And 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: Fourth 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 rainbow mantis shrimp. 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.

Chloë Fodor

Hometown: Orlando, FL

High School: Winter Park High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies

Hello! My name is Chloë Fodor and I am a second year international and area studies AOC student! I am excited to talk to you about New College! I am co-Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion through NCSA (student government) and am so passionate about this school and the people here. In terms of my major, I am interested in peace and conflict studies, as well as in policy design, and I have focused on Brazil as a region as well. I love cooking with my roommates, roller skating or skateboarding around campus and down to the bay to see the sunset, as well as laying out under the banyan tree to crochet, try to catch up on schoolwork, or do some crafts; i’m always seeking out new ways to experience New College and the Sarasota area! I’m so glad you’re considering NCF, and I’m excited to meet you!

Why I Chose New College: Throughout my college search, I really felt that I wanted that “big school” feeling that I would have gotten from some of the larger universities in Florida. I didn’t want to feel like I was missing out on some sort of quintessential college experience. I ultimately decided to come to New College after talking to a family friend who was a professor at a very large Florida University. He told me that the small class sizes I would get at NCF, and the intimate education I would have access to, would be an experience that I would not be able to find anywhere else. He advocated for me to pursue an education in a space where I wouldn’t just be one student in a lecture hall of hundreds, but where I could work closely and collaboratively with faculty. Hearing this from him solidified my decision. Although I was hesitant at first, my time at NCF has only reaffirmed my decision for me. I could not imagine receiving a more personalized education anywhere else.

Favorite Things about New College: How creative the students are here! People have so many interesting niche passions that they manage to turn into their careers! Also the bay and the mulberry tree… and the banyan tree in the spring. The campus is so beautiful.

Campus Activities: Not sure yet! I am looking into perhaps law school or a graduate program in peace and conflict studies.

Sarah Mattea Lane

Hometown: Orlando, FL

High School: Timber Creek High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Concentration: History / Gender Studies

Hey, my name is Sarah Mattea (she/they). I am a fourth year student studying history and gender studies. My focus is on the representations of women in WWII propaganda, so if you are interested in gender history, gender norms, WWII, or propaganda I am a great person to reach out to! Outside of academics I have been a Resident Advisor (RA) for two years and have grown pretty intimate with New College Housing. I will also be a Peer Leader for our SET SAIL first year seminar about Holocaust history and memory. I am an active member of Queery, our campus’ premier LGBTQ+ club and our German club! I am generally a very bubbly and compassionate person and am always willing to lend a helping hand. I love movies (I adore Wes Anderson), art (Monet is my fav!), flowers (Gerber Daisies are precious), and ice cream (it’s my favorite food). I’m a Taurus with Sag moon and Leo rising.

Why I choose New College: The liberal arts education for a public school price is really what drew me in. When looking at colleges I knew that I wanted something small, I really wanted small classes and an individualized education. I applied to New College on a whim with minimal knowledge, but after I toured, I appreciated the campus itself too.

Favorite things about New College: I love the close community. I came from a high school that is four times the size of New. So, actually getting to know most of my classmates is really rewarding. I love that I can step outside and be able to hang out with my friends very easily.

Plans after graduation: I want to move to a city with good public transit and find a job at a non-profit that supports marginalized youth.

Caroline Link

Hometown: Newburyport, Massachusetts

High School: Newburyport High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Marine Biology

Hi there! My name is Caroline. I’m in my third year 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 this year I’m also working in the Office of the Registrar and as a TA for Foundations of Biology.

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. Presently, I’m helping to write a research paper on corals that will be published this October.

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 world wide.

Sofia Lombardi

Hometown: Burke, Virginia

High School: Lake Braddock Secondary School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Political Science

Hi, my name is Sofia! I am a second-year student from the northern VA/DC metro area. I’ll likely be a Political Science student, but also have some interests in Sociology, Anthropology, and Spanish I am exploring. I currently serve as the NCSA (New College Student Alliance) President, which is our student government. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, watching reality TV, and thrifting. I am so glad you are considering New College!

Why I Chose New College: New College wasn’t initially on my radar—I actually applied at the request of a family friend. When I decided to tour the campus, however, I knew this was the right place for me. Everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming, and I loved the non-traditional aspects of our rigorous academic programs. There seemed to be a lot of resources and opportunities available at a smaller institution that I would not have access to elsewhere, and it just felt like a good fit!

Favorite Things about New College: Aside from its stunning campus, definitely the people. I have made such close friends here with my peers, staff, and faculty. New College’s size gives you the opportunity to develop really meaningful relationships with community members, which I have enjoyed so much.

Plans after graduation: I am really interested in attending law school to go into public interest law or attending a graduate school for conflict resolution—or maybe I’ll end up doing both!

Marena Long

Hometown: Telford, Tennessee

High School: David Crockett High School

Year at New College: Fourth 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

Fehmi Neffati

Hometown: Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia

High School: Mount Zion Christian Academy

Year at New College: First year

Area of Concentration: Computer Science

Aaslema! My name is Fehmi Neffati (He/Him)! I am a first year student here at New College with an Area of Concentration of Computer Science. I was born and raised in Tunisia, North Africa. My favourite hobbies are photography, cooking, gardening, and sports. I am new to Florida and loving it so far! I can’t wait to have you on our beautiful campus.

Why I chose New College: 2 days after applying to New College on common app, I received an email from Tiffany, who is the manager of Graduate and International enrollment. Two minutes into a phone call, we started speaking French to each other. From the ability to delineate your own course work and curriculum to the beauty of the campus and the weather of Sarasota. It felt like a home away from home. In essence, I am primarily interested in attending New College of Florida because of how personable the professional staff has been to me. As an international student who lives thousands of miles away, personality matters in the business of the academy, especially since the academy will also be my home for the next four years. Of course, the rigorous Computer Science program is attractive to prospective Computer Scientist, but having professionals staff being so friendly and supportive of my career goals from such an early point in the admissions process gives my reassurance that my interest is their vested interest, and that New College of Florida will undoubtedly support my academic goals.

Favorite things about New College: How unique every single student is. The bay. The tremendous support system and resources. The weather.

Plans after graduation: Grad school.

Javi Nunez

Hometown: Apopka, FL

High School: Apopka High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Natural Sciences

Hi! My name is Javi (he/him) and I am a second year Natural Sciences AOC. I was born in northern Massachusetts and moved to Apopka, FL right before kindergarten. Throughout high school, I was a performing arts kid – I did chorus, musical theatre, and small ensemble classes. I am currently an RA on campus, as well as a Student Ambassador. In my free time, I practice traditional Hellenistic astrology (I am a Capricorn sun, Gemini moon, and a Taurus rising) and I also make soap! I have a five-year-old tortoiseshell cat named Mitski.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College for its unique academic procedures and opportunities! I was really compelled by the idea of ISP’s and writing a senior thesis, as opposed to the typical college experience. I also knew that I was interested in attending a small college.

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite thing about New College is the location! Coming from landlocked Orlando, I love how close we are to the beach, and downtown Sarasota is a lot of fun.

Plans after Graduation: I am hoping to stay in Sarasota and open my own soap making business.

Freddie O’Brion

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

High School: T.R. Robinson High School

Year at New College: Fourth 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: Fourth year

Area of Concentration: Sociology/ History

Hello! My name is Arantxa Prince and I am a fourth 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.

Rocio Del Mar

Hometown: Aguada, Puerto Rico

High School: Winter Park High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Anthropology and Spanish

Hi! My name is Rocio and I’m a second year student of Anthropology and Spanish here at NCF.  I was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Florida and have gone to school and lived in the Central Florida area for most of my life. I am currently one of the Co Vice Presidents of Diversity and Inclusion for the New College Student Alliance and will be one of the incoming Orientation Leaders for Fall 2021. In my free time I love to skate, you might see me scooting around or trying to catch the sunset down by the bay on my roller skates!  I love going on walks around campus, in particular to any of the little spots on campus with edible plants like the mulberry tree down over by 4 winds, to catch the sunset by the bay, heading on down over to the Caples waterfront or hopping next door to the Ringling Museum’s grounds and circus exhibit!

Why I Chose New College: I stumbled across New College my senior year of high school after a friend of mine toured and told me about NCF as being an oddball among their other college choices. I was immediately intrigued by the sense of academic freedom offered to New College students, having been in public school from K-12 I had quite frankly grown tired of IB, AP, Common Core, and other such forms of standardized learning and was looking for even the smallest feeling of agency and choice in my education. The prospect of customizable learning opportunities such as the Independent Study Period (ISP), the idea of writing a thesis, the possibility of creating tutorials, the contract system and the absence of required Gen Ed courses caught my attention and drew me to New! It didn’t hurt that the quirky little school was also down by the water and home to beautiful sunsets.

Favorite Things about New College: The students really are what New College is all about. Most of all my favorite things about New College revolve around the friends I’ve made here and the memories we’ve shared. Students here are passionate and inquisitive in their learning and our campus is littered with student initiated projects and programs like the bees over by the Caple Carriage House, the Student Gardens over by Caples and the hammocks up in the Banyan tree are among my favorite little details of the school. New College draws lots of talented students with unique interests and there is a constant flow of projects, classes and dialogue here that reflect that.

Plans after Graduation: To be determined in the next coming year hopefully!

Daniel Schell

Hometown: Bowling Green, KY

High School: Pope John Paul 2 High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Philosophy

Hello, my name is Daniel, and I am a 3rd year philosophy AOC. When I am not studying or traveling for archery competition, I am the co-captain of the NCF Powerlifting team. Other hobbies I enjoy are reading and anything to do with the outdoors.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New college for the unique opportunities and the academics. The narrative evaluations facilitate a more holistic approach to learning. Additionally, the close relationships garnered with professors allows flexibility and a more in depth classroom experience. When I was looking at colleges, I had the choice of being a student in a classroom of 200 or New College and I am extremely happy with my choice.

Favorite Things about New College: My favorite things about New College are the opportunities and quality of the academics. Since New College grants a lot of freedom to dictate the college experience, I have found that that I can pursue educational opportunities that I could not at typically do at another institution.

Plans after Graduation: Currently nothing. Still in the process of figuring out what I would like to pursue.

Rhys Shanahan

Hometown: Gibsonton, Florida

High School: East Bay High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Concentration: Political Science

Why I chose New College: chose New College of Florida after considering what I was looking for academically. NCF, being an Honor’s College in Florida, had caught my eye after reading about the alums that had the school had produced. After talking about NCF with my College and Career Counselor in High School, she explained to me that NCF puts on emphasis on Personal Learning and allows students to tailor their own educations with the support of Faculty and Staff. Considering my desire to attend Law School, I felt, and still feel, that NCF was my best choice in establishing a strong educational foundation for my hopefully future career.

Favorite things about New College: My favorite thing about New College would have to be the freedom of education. While Professors do design their courses preemptively every semester, I am allowed to customize a course alongside a professor that will benefit my degree and student resume for grad school. Every January, the ISP period is by far the best example of this, where I was required to pursue a month long project of my own design regardless of my AOC. I travelled to Panama my first ISP to study Leaf Cutter Ants and then created NCFs first Law Society and hosted a Law focused ISP my second ISP.

Plans after graduation: I plan to immediately enroll at University of Florida’s School of Law and start my education towards getting a Law Degree. With that, I am between the plans of either fully pursuing a career in Law or using the degree to help me pursue a career in Politics. As of right now, I am still undecided, but I know that it is between these two paths that I will choose.

Ben Valen

Hometown: Marathon, Florida

High School: Island Christian High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of Concentration: Psychology

Hey y’all! My name is Ben and I’m a fourth 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 …