“Professionals in Residence” mentor students

Patricia Courtois and Dr. Lisa Merritt, two of New College’s “Professionals in Residence”

By Abby Weingarten

Expert tips from accomplished mentors are giving New College students a competitive edge, as the new Professionals in Residence Program pairs students with industry leaders.

Developed by the College’s Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO), the initiative allows students to schedule appointments with pros regarding career advice, networking, interviewing practice, and job and internship searching.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the five professionals in residence are Henry F. Anthony; Angela Haines; Patricia Courtois; Dr. Lisa Merritt; and Dan Stults, Ph.D. Each one has a uniquely different skillset.

“This program is a continuation of our goal to bring more professionals in contact with our students at New College,” said Dwayne Peterson, the director of the CEO. “It is a continuation of the New College Mentorship Network—an online platform like LinkedIn—where we already have over 400 people (alums and community members) available to offer career advice to students.”

All of the professionals in the Professionals In Residence Program believe in New College’s mission and its intellectually curious students, and they have each signed on for one year as volunteers (these positions will rotate annually).

“The professionals all have interesting backgrounds that complement student support,” Peterson said. “Henry provides an employer’s perspective, Angela offers entrepreneurship and communication expertise, Lisa has a medical background, Dan is a psychologist and statistician, and Patricia is an accomplished creative professional who will help us build a Leadership in Business Certificate.”

This certificate, Peterson explained, will allow students to take workshops and earn a non-credit-bearing certificate in leadership as early as the spring semester.

“Professional in residence programs, where students learn directly from practitioners in the field, are very common in professional schools—law schools, business schools—but they’re not common for liberal arts schools,” Peterson said. “So it’s exciting that we have a diverse team of industry experts who are helping our students tell their story, strengthen their communications skills, and also provide expertise in specific industries of interest. We want a whole team of people available to support students and fill the gaps in career expertise.”

Anthony is the retired vice president of Human Resources (HR) for Rollins, Inc.—an S&P 500 global commercial and consumer services company. He has had nearly 40 years of corporate HR experience, including more than 25 years as a senior HR executive. As a practitioner and consultant, Anthony has worked with several large organizations in developing HR strategies. He has also assisted hundreds of collegians in career searches.

Haines is a widely published business journalist and author, as well as a business communications and career consultant. From 2006 to 2009, she founded the Henry Hudson 400 New York foundation—organized to produce citywide cultural and business events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s legendary voyage to New York.

Currently, Haines is a managing director of Golden Seeds, a national angel investing group that supports women-backed businesses. More recently, she conducted seminars on entrepreneurship for the Honors College at CUNY and Ithaca College. She has also served as a mentor in several startup competitions.

Courtois, a Northwestern University alumna, has spent 40 years leading communications and corporate philanthropy efforts for companies and brands such as Beatrice Foods Company, Sara Lee Corporation, Tropicana, Sweet’n Low, Butter Buds, Sugar in the Raw and ClosetMaid.

She joined Clarke Advertising and Public Relations (later rebranded as C-Suite Communications) in 1999, and later purchased the agency from founder Tim Clarke. During Courtois’ tenure at Tropicana in Bradenton, she oversaw advertising, public relations and promotions for Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice, and orchestrated its launch in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Merritt is a physiatrist in Sarasota, an adjunct New College professor, a pre-med adviser and the founder of the Multicultural Health Institute (MHI). Dr. Merritt obtained her medical degree from Howard University after completing her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the National Medical Association.

Stults ’81 is a New College alum, an experimental social psychologist, a consultant, a statistician and a researcher. He holds a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Michigan State University. His most recent position was as head of global business intelligence (insights and analytics) for AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company.

In addition to being available for specific industry advice, the five experts will teach New College students numerous skills—from succeeding in interviews to writing impressive resumes—during either individual sessions or group workshops.

“These professionals all believe in a liberal arts education and want to see our students succeed,” Peterson said. “Some of them are not alums, but they know about New College’s incredible students, and they contacted me directly to ask to work with them. That’s a real testament to New College’s influence in the community.”

To learn more about the program or to participate, visit ncf.edu/ceo/professionals

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


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college the state's Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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