Barancik Scholarship Helps Local Students Thrive at New College of Florida

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- by Abby Weingarten


Barancik Scholar Joshua Ingram

Joshua Ingram is soon to be the first in his family to earn a college degree.

A statistics and applied mathematics thesis student at New College of Florida, Ingram enrolled at the state’s only designated public honors college with a specific aim: to graduate debt-free in May. And one local resource—the Barancik Access Leadership Scholarship—has been instrumental in helping fund Ingram’s feat.

“This scholarship shows me that New College is dedicated to supporting and uplifting students from underrepresented backgrounds to succeed in college,” said Ingram, who grew up in Bradenton and attended Bradenton Christian School. “It gives them the opportunity to be leaders within their community.”

The Barancik Access Leadership Scholarship was developed in March 2020 to support high-potential talent from underrepresented populations in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Funded by a $500,000 grant from Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, the scholarship amounts are up to $7,500 per year for students residing on campus and up to $2,500 per year for students living off campus.

“As we enter our third year of the Barancik scholarship program and the Access Leadership initiative, we are truly excited to see the impact this initiative has had on our campus community,” said New College Dean of Outreach Bill Woodson, Ph.D. “Of course, the enhanced financial support our scholars have received has been very significant. It has allowed them to better balance their focus on academic success and reduce what, in some cases, were near-full-time work hours.”

The Access Leadership Initiative is a program funded by Barancik Foundation, and the Barancik scholarship is an offering funded by the Barancik grant. The scholarship is intended to reduce or even eliminate financial barriers that might otherwise prevent students from attending New College, and it is also available to those who transfer from other higher education institutions in Sarasota-Manatee. Barancik Foundation, established in 2014, is known for creating local initiatives and grants in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment and medical research.

Already, the Barancik scholarship program at New College has helped students significantly.

“We are seeing impact in terms of improving retention rates among a high-risk student population, and also in terms of some remarkable contributions of our Barancik Scholars as scholar-citizens and leaders within our academic community,” Woodson said. “The success and impact of the Barancik grant is also inspiring us to seek out additional resources to enable us to support a broader range of high-financial need Florida students who live beyond the Manasota region.”

The Barancik grant has also empowered New College to invest in building a robust financial literacy infrastructure that benefits both the scholarship recipients and the entire student community.

For Francis Garcia Fernandez, a first-year political science and economics student at New College, the Barancik program has offered so much more than financial assistance. It also includes opportunities for mentorship and support—like meeting with Financial Literacy Specialist Ceci Linton in the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence, and engaging in meditation sessions with Counselor Lenore Canavarros in the Counseling and Wellness Center.

“The financial, social and professional support of the scholarship helps maintain my focus on coursework and leadership opportunities while presenting many people on campus I can go to if I need help,” Fernandez said. “I really enjoy the program because it’s vibrant and energetic. The welcoming environment created by Ceci, Dr. Woodson and others allows the different experiences and perspectives of the scholars to shine through.”

For Ingram, the program has been a critical stepping stone on his path to financial freedom after college—and it has given him the financial freedom during college to focus intently on his passions. It has helped him serve as a more active, engaged student and leader.

He just finished a research internship at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and is currently interning at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center Astrophysics Science Division. In September, he earned second place in the Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition (USPC) for his analysis of solar flares. He is also the co-president of New College’s Astronomy Club.

The funds through the Barancik scholarship have enabled me to focus more on my academics and research interests, as well as leadership and outreach,” Ingram said. “I’ve even been able to afford living on campus for the first time, rather than living with my family.”

Sonia Wu, the associate dean of enrollment management at New College, has watched students like Ingram and Fernandez thrive, and she looks forward to seeing the impact the Barancik program has on future scholars.

“I love that the Barancik program teaches our students to connect with staff and faculty. New College is already the perfect size to make it easy to get to know people if you set your mind to it,” Wu said. “Learning to make deeper connections is transformative because it’s both practical and exciting; it elevates the individual at the same time it builds the community.”

For more information on the Barancik Access Leadership Scholarship, visit

For more information on Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, visit

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.