Orientation Leaders

Meet your Fall 2017 Orientation Leaders.

Orientation Leaders

Alba Abrams

Alba AbramsWhy did you choose New College? I love the water and being outside. I was immediately grasped by the beautiful campus and the academic independence one has to maintain at this school.

What do you like most about New College? I really appreciate the people and the community at New College.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? It takes time to settle in, don’t be afraid to talk to people, everyone is hear to help you.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Meeting my best friends at the sunset.


Alexis Rousseau

Alexis RousseauWhy did you choose New College? New College was the first college that really appealed to me. Its small size and focus on the liberal arts was the complete package I was looking for.

What do you like most about New College? My favorite thing about New College has got to be the incredible amount of resources that are available.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? New College is a place where opportunity lies at every corner. In your time here, really try to get your hands in the mud, get involved.

What is your favorite New College memory? One of my favorite New College memories was getting my first-year evaluations and seeing that I had passed both of my contracts. Seeing that everything that I worked for had paid off was a great feeling.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? During the last few days of my Orientation week, there was an event held at the College Hall for all of us new students. There were big speakers set up, cupid shuffle was blasting across the bay, people were dancing, fish were flying out of the water. I can remember sitting among dozens of other students out on the dock as the sun started to set, turning the sky a deep, deep orange. This is probably my favorite memory of Orientation because it was the moment that the reality of the whole college thing set in and all I felt was excitement.


Allegra Nolan

Allegra NolanWhy did you choose New College? It has a unique system that allows me freedom to pursue the subjects that interest me, create projects that further my goals, develop independent work, and explore my place in a community.

What do you like most about New College? How easy it is to get involved by either joining existing organizations that match your values/interests or creating your own if you find something missing!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Find what interests you, what really gets you going. Even that may sometimes get tiresome when you have a lot to do, but then you just know you need a little break. Go outside and enjoy the beautiful place we are so lucky to live in. Know that you have support here.

What is your favorite New College memory? Anything that took place at the bay … I simply won’t choose one.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Being part of the running group (which ended up becoming a club). It was a lot of people. It was started by someone who is now a close friend of mine. There is a photo somewhere of us all down at the bay, glowing with endorphins!


Briana Baumgarten

Briana BaumgartenWhy did you choose New College? When I visited I felt like this was the place I was meant to be! I care about relationships with teachers and having a close community, and I feel that here.

What do you like most about New College? I love the people here and the variety of classes that I get to take for my own interest. I also think it’s important that the teachers actually talk to you and are willing to help you.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Get out if your dorm and meet people! Join a club, go to events. Get involved in the community!

What is your favorite New College memory? The first wall of the year was Space Catwalk where everyone put on a bunch of glitter and I met the friends that are now my family!

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My orientation leader took our group to the first sunset at the bay and it was beautiful and lots of people were there.


Bryce Gall

Bryce GallWhat do you like most about New College? The trees.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Take risks, do things.

What is your favorite New College memory? Any memory where I’m sitting with a group of friends, listening to music, maybe playing cards, just filling a space with our presence and our energy — those are my favorite memories.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? On like the third night, I went down to the bay at maybe 3 or 4 in the morning with a small group of new friends. We pulled some of the chairs into a little semi-circle on the concrete pad facing the bay and just sat and talked until the sun rose. I remember really clearly looking out onto the water that night and seeing all the barrier islands lit up in the distance; it looked so much like the screen of the video game, just blackness and little specs of light. It was all pretty surreal.


Camila Vallejo

Why did you choose New College? The only place that was as weird as me.

What do you like most about New College? The community.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Don’t lose yourself, find yourself.

What is your favorite New College memory? Going kayaking and paddleboarding in the Caples Campus.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Playing Frisbee on the tennis courts.


Chelsea Torregrosa

Why did you choose New College? There’s so much choice at New College! AOC, Tutorials, variations of classes with different professors — they all make way for more of an individualized education for each student.

What do you like most about New College? The act of questioning is encouraged here more than anywhere else I have ever been, which seems appropriate since we learn primarily by discussion in all of my classes.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, not just in class, but outside of class, too. Ask your peers, the administration, etc. Someone will have your answer.

What is your favorite New College memory? I don’t think I have one particular favorite moment, but if I had to pick a great one, I’d say it was when I got a paper back with the most positive feedback from a professor I really respect. She gave me constructive criticisms in a really uplifting way and congratulated me on responding to the prompt in a manner that she considered unique and masterful. I mean, what a compliment!

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Probably when I made it to my room without getting lost for the first time. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I’m really bad with directions, so it was a big moment for me! During Orientations for which I was an OL, it’s when students finally feel at home. It’s pretty rushed during that first week, but students get so much support and guidance. Once they’re settled and start making remarks about New College being home, I know I’m doing my job right.


Erika Calle

Erika CalleWhy did you choose New College? When I was looking at New College, I saw a great potential to improve, learn and expand my persona tailored similar to my own weird way of learning. New College seemed like a wonderful place that would give a lot of opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and explore intellectually. The idea of a narrative evaluations was very appealing due to its potential to provide intellectual growth in a more personal way opposed to getting a grade and being a number to the professor.

What do you like most about New College? I love the academic flexibility here at New College of Florida. The academic flexibility to go in-depth and explore certain subjects goes well with my curious nature. I also love the fact that the students get to run the campus life with events.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Please take advantage of the resources provided on campus. Here at New College, help will always be given to those who ask and put the effort into it. Whether it be academic, personal or job related, New College can provide or help you get the help you need. It may be at first intimidating to ask for help, but you have to try to push those feelings aside if you want to perform at your best. You owe it to yourself. The faculty and staff here are really kind and supportive. Know that you are not alone, when asking for help, everyone at New College has struggled at some point in their college career. Pro tip: Please be aware of timing when asking for academic-related help to increase academic success in your classes. If you have trouble with a concept or two, please reach your academic resources as soon as possible rather than going near the end of the semester where you might face even more difficulties.

What is your favorite New College memory? My one of my favorite New College memories would be joining the New College Toastmasters Club and doing my icebreaker speech. From a very young age, I have been terrified of public speaking. After my senior year of high school, I became comfortable with public speaking but I had a long way to go in developing the skill. Toastmasters provided a supportive space for practicing and getting useful feedback in speeches. Not only have I grown from my experience so far in the club, I have made some wonderful friends.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My favorite memory of Orientation would be the Choose Your Own Adventure Day. My Orientation leader took my group on a nature tour where we got to learn fascinating facts about most the wonderful plants on campus. We even got know the locations of some of the edible fruit-bearing plants. My roommates and I got to bond over making some delicious limeade afterwards.


Garrett BoschGarrett Bosch

Why did you choose New College? The atmosphere, grade system, and education quality.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Keep an open mind, people are different here — but better.

What is your favorite New College memory? Meeting new friends at the bay at night.


Hannah Jacobs

Hannah JacobsWhy did you choose New College? New College is small, relatively inexpensive and has a great academic program. Being from Florida, I was fortunate to have both Florida Prepaid and Bright Futures, so I will be able to graduate from New College debt-free!

What do you like most about New College? I love the community on campus. Everyone at New is so connected.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Talk to as many people as you can during Orientation week — talk to other first-years, orientation leaders/RAs, professors and faculty. Each person will have different information and points of view to help you navigate your way at New College!

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Either my first or second night at New College, a group of about 15 of us walked down to the bay after the evening activities and played Never Have I Ever.


Jason D’Amours

Jason D'AmoursWhy did you choose New College? I knew I wanted to go to a small school, but the freedom I have regarding which classes I take, the ability to work with professors one-on-one, and the narrative evaluations received at the end of every semester really won me over!

What do you like most about New College? How driven a lot of the students are! Some people here really do so much for the community.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Listen to your academic advisor when they suggest that you explore your interests.

What is your favorite New College memory? Newstock under the banyan tree Spring 2016.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Thursday sunset at the bay! It was the first time upper-year students and first-year students mingled. And it was at sunset. And it was before the first wall! What an evening!


Lorelei Domke

Lorelei DomkeWhy did you choose New College? New College was my mom’s dream college and I heard about it through most of my life. When it came time to apply and I looked into it more. New College promised a experience and learning environment that no other college could. The second I got my acceptance package I knew I was going to New College.

What do you like most about New College? I love the relationships that blossom because of the New College environment. My professors and advisor know me personally and help me everyday with advice and support in school and life. Staff around campus are wonderful and friendly. The students make up a wonderful community to live and learn with.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? One thing I wish I realized sooner is that New College is challenging. While it may be tough there are many people who are there and want to help you. Talk to you professors (seriously) and peers.

What is your favorite New College memory? One of my favorite New College memory is when my botany professor took a small group of students to the Fakahatchee Reserve to help do field work. It was an amazing and beautiful experience. All day we waded through thigh high water passing copper head snakes and collecting plant data. It was a long and rewarding trip that I would have never had the chance to do if it weren’t for New College.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My favorite memory of Orientation at New College would have to be when a few people from my group decided to go to St. Armand’s Circle for dinner and to visit the beach.


Mackenzie Browning

Mackenzie BrowningWhy did you choose New College? It was close to home and I love it here in Sarasota where the beach is only 20 minutes away! It’s an honors college and that attracted me, I think my biggest push was the small class sizes and low tuition.

What do you like most about New College? Before I came to New College I didn’t know a lot about it. I didn’t know we had to write a thesis and I definitely had no idea what the culture was like. Since New College, I’ve been opened up to a whole world. I never knew about genders the way I know about them now, I never knew feminism like I know it now, mostly I never knew the importance acceptance like I know it now. I’m afraid I’d be a much different person if I never came to New College, and I really like the person I’ve become because of New College.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? First year is really hard, whether you’re a transfer or a freshman, it’s hard for everyone. That being said, difficult doesn’t have to mean threatening. Academics should be taken as a challenge, not a threat, and you’ll enjoy your time. It might take some getting used to but you’ll grow in ways you didn’t know you needed to grow. For culture, come in with an open mind, be open to criticism and debate. Be open to being wrong, be open to being right.. Listen to people you might not normally listen to because they might have something eye-opening to say (and they usually always do). Don’t be intimidated, be curious!

What is your favorite New College memory? My favorite memory of New College was actually my entire fourth semester (Spring second year), I was in Organic Chemistry 2 and Organismic Biology, two of the toughest courses and they involved a lot of study time. I made some of the closest friends of my life that semester and we’d spend more hours sitting in the ARC studying than we spent in class. The time spent there was just a time full of the love and support that I needed to get through my second year. If I had to pick a specific moment, it would be when we spent $63 on Chinese food during finals week and had a library family dinner while studying.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Mine: I lived off campus and was perpetually shy and I was having trouble making friends and involving myself. A girl from my orientation group invited me into her newfound friend group with her roommates and I remember feeling so included and accepted. I was still too shy to involve myself in a lot of activities but each day they still included me when I was there. A nicer memory would probably be speed friending! It was one of the activities I helped with and I just really loved seeing how many people were eager to get to know each other.


Mei Maddox

Why did you choose New College? Individualized academic program with small class sizes and undergrad research oppertunities.

What do you like most about New College? Every professor at New College is here because they want to be, and as such, are invested in their students. They know their students past just names and faces, but know them as individuals. They are always willing to help and genuinely wish to see their students succeed. The teachers are invaluable to this school, and interesting/engaging conversationalists.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? It can be a little intimidating, but you will never know unless you ask. This goes for research opportunities, events on campus, rides to and from certain places, placements in class, housing or other student life accommodations, etc. The student body is very supportive, and the faculty and staff of New College want to make sure that you have a comfortable school and living environment. If you don’t know who to ask, someone else may know. You can’t be afraid to ask.

What is your favorite New College memory? Academics at New College are far from a walk in the park. Most of the time both my friends and I are swamped with work. However, no matter how much work remains yet unfinished or how many tests we have the next day, there was always time for a game night every Wednesday (and sometimes Friday as well). It started at the beginning of fall semester where I learned some of my friends and one of our professors all enjoyed the same strategy game: Diplomacy. Every Wednesday from then on was spent in the common room of V dorm, with a board splayed out on the table and hushed whispers “alliance” moves. Soon my friends and I also met on Fridays, gathering an even larger group to play Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, Monopoly, or various card games. The games provided entertaining distraction from the workload of school and other things happening in our lives.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Two days into Orientation, about half of my group spontaneously decided to go bowling. Picking up people we had happened to run across on the way to the parking lot, about a dozen of us piled into cars destined for a nearby bowling alley. With two lanes occupied, several of us ordered food to share, and talked while we waited our turn to roll the bowling ball. This experience was exciting and set a lasting platform of friendship between all of us.


Melissa Simmons

Melissa SimmonsWhy did you choose New College? I wanted to go to a school that was challenging and I didn’t want to go to school in a cold place.

What do you like most about New College? I like the small class sizes and the community feel on campus.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Put yourself outside your comfort zone and do something you wouldn’t normally do. It makes for a good story and you meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise.

What is your favorite New College memory? Playing a pirate game on a sail boat with the Sail Club.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Playing Big Wind Blows.


Myles Rodriguez

Myles RodriguezWhy did you choose New College? The flexibility of programs encourages diversity and thinking outside the box. Also, the freedom and acceptance within the community is inspiring!

What do you like most about New College? Being able to create your own path (through AOCs, tutorials, ISPs, etc.).

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Be yourself, always. Explore all aspects of your interests.

What is your favorite New College memory? If I had to pick one … probably Newstock.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Going through the motions of becoming acquainted with my fellow orientees, learning the ins-and-outs of campus life, exploring and opening my eyes.


Nic Pohopin

Nic PohopinWhy did you choose New College? I was most attracted to the community at New College, specifically the openness of the community and it’s feeling of care and acceptance. The academic system was also something that caught my attention, though on a lesser note.

What do you like most about New College? The community is the most important part for me. A lot (if not all) of the students look out for one another and respect each others views even if they don’t necessarily agree. The acceptance of LGBTQIA+ and other identities is an important part of the community and people do not shy away from a conversation about it if you are willing to learn.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Don’t be afraid to ask questions (whether from your peers, your professors or even faculty)! Building a relationship with people at New College is an essential part of your education here, so don’t be afraid to approach others, and make sure to keep a good line of communication.

What is your favorite New College memory? It’s hard to pick just one, but I really loved the entirety of Zombies Week. I was immediately tagged out, but watching all of the students team up and work together to tag one another (or hide away) was hilarious and a little inspiring, to be honest.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? I think generally just hanging out with my Orientation group were some of my favorite moments. There wasn’t any one moment, just simply meeting up with them was really fun and I ended up meeting some of my best friends through our group.


Olivia Siegel

Olivia SeigelWhy did you choose New College? The academic classes. Amazing classes taught in a liberal arts, interdisciplinary, open minded, self-motivated fashion. I am surrounded by passionate and intelligent professors and people. It also so happened to be in my hometown and offer me all the scholarship money I would need to attend. Who knew? I got lucky!

What do you like most about New College? The academics. Each and every class I have taken has been extraordinary. My passion for knowledge was heightened once classes began. Being around so many intelligent people who taught such awesome courses was humbling and encouraged me to work hard on my studies. I love how accepting the people of the school are. Because individuality is encouraged, there is a spot for most anyone at the school. I love looking around the campus and seeing everyone’s individual style. It makes for such a pleasant sight.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Be yourself. Be open to the ideas that you learn about from people at the school, but don’t feel the need to conform to the “social norms.” The cool thing about New is all the different kinds of people that attend the school. Be open to the ideas you’ll learn from people and professors, but being your genuine self is what makes a great social atmosphere. No one wants to hang out with people who all think the same on every single thing. And don’t be afraid to reach out. Whether its to a teacher, a student, an administrator or your parents and family. Communication is key. Having a solid unit to whom you can confide in and speak about how you are feeling is core to having a good first semester. It can be intimidating, but you don’t have to go through it alone!

What is your favorite New College memory? My favorite NCF memory is hard to choose … One of my gardening tutorial classes. At the beginning of class, we all sit in a circle under a big live oak in front of the gardens. Someone presents the readings for the week, that have to do with soil structure, hugelkultur, climate change, environmental racism etc. Sitting in a circle, discussing relevant topics in a garden, among like minded people … bliss. Then gardening with everyone and picking mulberries or whatever is growing in Caples Gardens.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My favorite memory at Orientation was a couple days in when people were getting more comfortable around each other. There were waffles in the WRC and everybody was goofing off eating delicious waffles. Simple, but I remember being in a really good frame of mind.


Rachel Nogues

Rachel NoguesWhy did you choose New College? Tutorials and the no-grade system.

What do you like most about New College? The sense of community and safety on campus. We may not all get along all the time, but for the most part, people (staff/administration/students/etc) are understanding, accommodating, and ready to help students pursue their goals and feel like they belong.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Study broadly. There are so many cool classes and fun activities and groups to get involved with, allow yourself to explore new things and pursue stuff that you’ve always wanted to but never got around to.

What is your favorite New College memory? On some weekend night in my first year, someone in Second Court who had really big, really loud speakers used extension cords to set them up in the middle of the court. They were blasting a lot of throwback music, pretty much anything that people requested, and everyone was just having a great time. There were some people filming something, I didn’t ever really know the details of it, and they were on a break while this was happening. That I remember because they had left one of their lights set up which only added to the impromptu middle-of-Second-Court-dance-party ambiance of the night. I think it a got a noise complaint eventually, but it was great while it lasted.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Walking to the bay for sunset. There’s just something about the first few — all the people, the lack of school work, the excitement of being somewhere new — that just sticks with you.


Sabrina Finn

Sabrina FinnWhy did you choose New College? I was looking for a place with flexible but rigorous academics, and I loved the quirky people and community atmosphere. The clincher was that I don’t have to wear shoes.

What do you like most about New College? I love the relationships that I’ve built here. It’s so easy to get to know anyone on campus, and I know a handful of my professors on an immensely personal level, which would never have happened anywhere else. The friendships I’ve made here are some of the deepest and most profoundly positive relationships I’ve ever had. Really, the people that I’ve met here are life-changing!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Take more pictures! This might seem like a silly piece of advice, but I have never heard anyone say they took too many pictures during their first year. It’s actually the opposite — most people wish they took more! I promise, having a collection of pictures to look back on is worth the time it takes, and you’ll only be happy you have them.

What is your favorite New College memory? My favorite New College memory was a holiday party that I threw in my second year. My roommate and I got a plastic Christmas tree from Goodwill, and then we decorated our room with lights, made a holiday playlist, and got all dressed up. Tons of people showed up and everyone squished into our Pei room, just chatting and laughing and dancing together! It was this serene evening in a tough exam week, and thinking about it always makes me smile.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My favorite memory from Orientation was seeing sunset with my new roommates on that very first night. It was such a magical night, and it was full of laughter, nervousness and fun. I remember feeling warm and happy because I was finally where I was meant to be, with people that already meant the world to me.


Sofia JimenezSofia Jimenez

Why did you choose New College? Because of its unique grading philosophy, small class sizes, and ISPs.

What do you like most about New College? The sunshine and close friendships. Using all of the hammocks around campus.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? Use all of the hammocks around campus.

What is your favorite New College memory? Treating myself to lazy Sundays on the First Court balcony with friends!

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? Spontaneously going to the beach late at night and eating ice cream.


Sorin Miller

Sorin MillerWhy did you choose New College? I was drawn to New College for the research opportunities offered to natural science undergraduate students and the possibility to try out complex courses outside of your AOC due to the contract system.

What do you like most about New College? I have been able to take courses, which at other institutions are full lecture halls, with only 8-10 other students. This allows for collaborative discussions, which in turn allows for more complex problems to be studied. I really feel that this has prepared me for more advanced coursework which I am very excited about.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student? New College gives you the opportunity to take charge of your education, so take advantage of that. Get to know your professors and talk to your adviser. They are there to help you, but you need to ask. Don’t be afraid to go to them with questions.

What is your favorite New College memory? My favorite New College memory is the morning of the Women’s March here in Sarasota. My roommates and I were heading to the march and we saw a ton of students from on campus heading to the same place. It was really awesome to see the New College community to come together to stand up against policies which harm us all.

What is your favorite memory of Orientation at New College? My favorite memory actually comes from when I was an Orientation Leader last year. We played a large game of Capture the Flag at night across the bay side of campus for a few hours and it was one of the most fun nights I have had here at New College. We all just ran around and played field games from when we were little. It was a fun night with students from all of the different years coming together.