New College STARS

Meet our Student Admissions Representatives.

Meet Our Student Admissions Representatives

Jeeda AbuKhader

Hometown: Amman, Jordan

High School: Amman National School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Economics/Finance

I was born and raised in Jordan. I have a passion for traveling and learning about new cultures. During my sophomore year, I did an exchange year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After that year I knew I wanted to study in the U.S. New College is making that dream come true! I graduated from the International Baccalaureate program. I love languages: I’m fluent in Arabic and English. I enjoy dancing, running and listening to music. I’m very excited to be able to share my love of New College.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because it is academically challenging and affordable. The professors and students are wonderful.

Favorite Things about New College: The small size of New College enhances my experience — it allows you to meet and know everyone. I also have one on one time with my professors. New College also Offers academic independence and helps me learn new things about myself every day.

Alyssa Borgschulte

Hometown: Acworth, Georgia

High School: Etowah High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Biopsychology

I am a huge animal person who grew up around a lot of animals. I compete in hunter-jumper English horseback riding, and I love dolphins! I want to study the animal behavior of dolphins or maybe do rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals. I am constantly trying to go to the beach as much as possible because I love the water. I am one of the Vice Presidents of our Scuba Diving Club here on campus and I am also one of the administrators for Dance Collective!

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College not only because the location is absolutely beautiful on the water, but because of the unique classes they offered. My first year first semester I took a class on bottlenose dolphins. Where else are you going to find that?

Favorite Things about New College: The Bayfront is one of my favorite things about New College because the water and the sunsets are gorgeous. I also really like the smaller class size because you are able to connect more with your professors and peers one on one

Garrett Bosch

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

High School: The Bolles School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Economics/Finance

Hi! I’m a Florida native who grew up walking distance from the beach, so naturally I love to surf, skate, and just be outside in general. However, I also have love for my indoor activities including video games and books. My real passion in life is cars; ask me anything about any car and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get back to you within a day! I have one younger sister who will be graduating from Bolles in 2018, and we’re best friends. I also have a white mini goldendoodle named Ruby who’s been with the family for 13 years now.

Why I Chose New College: New’s unique social and academic atmosphere was something I simply could not pass up during my college search. The one-on-one time with professors, small classes, and reputation of the college with graduate schools made it an academic dream for me. Also, the total acceptance mindset adopted by all students here made me feel encouraged to be myself. I also really enjoy the extracurricular activities offered by the school, including the sail team and the high quality theatrical performances sponsored by students.

Favorite Things about New College: The things I love most at New College include the campus and the activities that are hosted on it. The year-round beautiful weather allows for me to study with a great view of the bay, or take advantage of the resources in the library. Also, the vast number and range of clubs on campus has allowed me to pursue any and all extracurricular activities that I can think of. Even if a club or activity doesn’t exist on campus, New College has made it extremely easy for me to start a group on my own. For example, I am the co-founder and co-captain of the New College intramural basketball team which competes in a local league.

Plans after New College: I plan to attend law school to pursue a legal degree specializing in international intellectual property law, as I would like to use the Chinese language skills I have and will acquire during my time here. I also plan to go to post-graduate school to pursue an LLM in international business and economic law.

Alex Bottorff

Hometown: Venice, Florida

High School: Venice High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Chemistry

I am a second-year student at New College. I currently live in Venice, Florida (about 20 miles south of New College) and it is where I have lived for years and where I finished high school. I want to study chemistry and pursue a doctoral degree with a focus in inorganic chemistry.

Why I chose New College: The ISP (Independent Study Project) program was important, and so was the contract system New College employs. But, the way each student is a name, not a number, stands out.

Favorite things about New College: My largest class size has been under 50 students, and the students and professors are wonderful. Not to mention the beautiful sunsets over Sarasota Bay.

Plans after graduation: Graduate school for Chemistry is my current path, but the future is versatile.

Ormond Derrick

Hometown: Tampa/Dade City, Florida

High School: Land O’ Lakes High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest:  Political Science/Global Public Heath/Spanish

Hi! My Name is Ormond Derrick and I’m a 2nd year Political Science and International Studies (with a focus on Global Public Health) AOC, with a slash in Spanish. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, and later moved to Dade City with my parents, sister and brother where I joined the Gifted, and later IB program. After studying my brains out for four years, I decided to come to New College and study even more! I come from a Mexican-American and British-American household, so Spanish, the world, and politics have always been at the forefront of my life. Coming to New College I’ve had some amazing opportunities including studying corporate interests and lobbying in Washington D.C., working with the Public Health Department to tackle substance abuse, and working with the United Nations for Human Rights and Sustainable Development! When I’m not studying or sleeping, I really like to go down the Lido Beach or St. Armand’s circle and enjoy the town, and embrace my Floridian roots.

Why I chose new College: It was affordable and offered one of the best educations

Favorite things about New College: Small Class Sizes and Research Opportunities

Plans after graduation: Law School/Public Office

Kara Grissom

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

High School: Blake High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Biochemistry

Hi my name is Kara, I’m a third-year natural sciences AOC and Pre-Med student here at New College. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, with my mom, two older sisters, and lots of pets! I’ve been involved with dance and musical theatre since I was six years old, and I attended a magnet high school for musical theatre performance. In my free time I love to spend time on the beach and outdoors, workout, dance with the dance collective club, as well as explore new places in the Sarasota area.

Why I chose New College:  The small classes and close campus community are what drew me to New College as well as the beautiful location.

Favorite things about New College: The close professor/student relationships, the community of students who all want each other to succeed, and all the resources available to students here at New College. Downtown Sarasota is one of my favorite places, with so much to offer!

Plans after graduation: Attend medical school.

Giulia Heyward

Hometown: Miami, Florida

High School: Coral Gables Sr. High School

Year at New College: Fourth year

Area of study: Publication Studies (Specialized AOC)

I grew up in a biracial household where chitlins and bruschetta were equally fought over at the dinner table. I am the editor-in-chief of the Catalyst, our student-run newspaper, and the editor-in-chief of the Tangent, our student-run news magazine. I am also one of the editors of Aeolus, our undergraduate research journal. I am the photographer and creator of the “As We Are New College” project, a photo series that depicts the lived experiences of students of color attending a predominantly white institution. I am also active in our black history month planning committee and our black student union, where i am the public relations officer! My biggest claim to fame might be as your local mail girl, as i can be found on any day zooming across campus on a golf cart distributing packages around campus!

Why I chose New College: New college was able to give me a liberal-arts education while also still allowing me to stay in close proximity to my family! I wanted to attend a school that placed a greater value on academic rigor and social activism  than on greek life!

Favorite thing about New College/ Sarasota: I feel like a “big fish in a small pond” in Sarasota. There are so many jobs and internships available to college students — I’m never in need of an opportunity here.

Plans after graduation: I am taking a gap year in Sarasota to work in my field of choice (journalism) and complete applications for grad school! I plan on getting a masters in digital or multiplatform journalism!

Mackenna Jensen

Hometown: Norwalk, Ohio

High School: Norwalk High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Marine Biology

I am Mackenna Louise Jensen. I am a third year at New College and use she/her pronouns. I currently am interested in a Marine Biology AOC with specialization in working with sea turtles and manatees, but am also looking into a more ecology and environmental studies course to get a greater view of how the environment and the animals interact to assist both. I am an out of state student from Norwalk, Ohio, but have recently moved to Hudson, Florida. I had been planning on living in Florida for most of my life, so I was thrilled to finally get to make the change. I adore most outdoor activities including doing yoga outside. I have danced ballet since the age of 6 and hope to get involved with the dance collective this coming semester. As I live on this planet, taking care of the Earth is very important as well as taking care of myself, so I am very big on recycling and reducing waste as well as making and using natural products for me to care for myself while not added toxins to the environment around me.

Why I Chose New College: I choose New College after reading through what the structure of the school was. I really loved the idea of having evaluations instead of letter grades since I went to a Montessori school till 4th grade that ran on a similar system. I also had just written a paper the previous year before I found New College on the break down of how letter grade do not truly allow for growth, so to find a college that agreed with that made my heart sing. I was also looking for a Marine Biology program that sparked my interest. I literally cried when I read about the Marine Biology program for New College and continued to love many of the other natural science courses, so I could see myself growing at New College and New College still offering me exactly what I needed/wanted.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the community of New College. The campus feels like home to me. The professors actually work with you and know who you are. There are always people that care and are interested in who you are and what you do. People push and encourage you at New College, so that you can reach out of your own personal bubble and get what you wanted to do but were too afraid to. I love the environment. Even classes that do not need to deal with things that are outside occasionally go outside for class or for an activity. The school knows its campus is beautiful and actually used it, which is wonderful. As someone that loves nature and animals, getting to use the campus’ environment as a resource for hands on classes and research is so useful.

Plans After Graduation: My dream (who knows if it will happen, but that’s why it’s a dream) is to be able to work on a team that aids in clean-up and protection for animals and their environment. I would love to just drop everything and go where needed whether that be to clean up an oil spill or rescue a sea turtle and work with it in a sea turtle hospital. I would love to do this all while blogging regularly, but that’s the dream for now.

Emma Kervel

Hometown: Miami, Florida

High School: Coral Reef High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: English and Theater

Hi! My name is Emma Kervel, I use she/her pronouns, and I’m from Miami, Fl. I’m a fourth-year student at New College and I’m currently writing my thesis to complete an English/theater combined AOC. I have loved the theater world and performing since long before I can remember and I’m thrilled to be producing an original play as part of my thesis. I love singing, especially choral music; I am in my sixth semester with the New College chorus and sing on the weekends for a local church choir. I ‘m also on the board of the Windmill Theater Co., one of New College’s major resources for organizing and producing student-led theatrical performances. In my free time, I enjoy playing catch by the New College Bayfront with Conan, my 1-year-old puppy, and going to the movies with my partner and roommates at the local $2 cinema.

Why I chose new College: I was really drawn to New College because of the low student/faculty ratio (11:1) and the small classes. New College also offered me a great scholarship and, as a Florida resident, I was also able to apply my Bright Futures scholarship to tuition, which made New College extremely affordable for me and my family. What really sealed the deal for me was the final stop on my campus tour… the absolutely stunning Bayfront at College Hall made me feel right at home!

Favorite things about New College: The Bayfront at sunset, the collaborative atmosphere, the unique and interesting people who make up our community, and the great location!

Plans after graduation:  After graduation, I’m planning to work in town for one of the many local theater companies in Sarasota as administrative staff. I’d like to work my way up to event planning or operations management someday and hope to be able to travel throughout the country and perhaps work abroad with a touring company in the future!

Sara Sheffer

Hometown: Langhorne, Pennsylvania

High School: Villa Victoria Academy

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: Marine Biology

I am from the Philadelphia suburbs, and from the time I was very young I knew I wanted to live near the ocean and study marine biology. I came from a very small, close-knit high school.  I am a pretty extroverted person. I enjoy scuba diving and being outdoors, especially anywhere by the water. I love traveling, and am always planning where I will go next.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its excellent marine biology program and lab, its beautiful warm and sunny campus, and its friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Favorite Things about New College: I love the campus, in particular the gorgeous sunsets on the bayfront, as well as the narrative evaluation system which provides me with deeper insight into my performance in my classes.

Plans after New College: I hope to go on to veterinary school!

Eleni Spanolios

Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida

High School:  Palm Harbor University High School

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest:  Chemistry

I was born in Chicago, but grew up with my crazy Greek family in Tarpon Springs. I have always been active and continue to be so at New. I love sailing, hanging out by the bay and doing yoga with friends. When I am not taking care of residents as a Resident Advisor I love to cook big meals for me and my roommates to share.

Why I chose New College:  I was an I.B. student in high school and wanted the same academic rigor in college without going broke. New College satisfied both of those needs. After visiting the campus a few times, I realized I really enjoyed the culture and the people. After my first year, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice. My professors know me and are always there to guide me through difficult times. Not to mention the amazing friends I have made along the way.

Favorite things about New College: I love the small size of the school. It makes everything personal and more manageable. The community at New College is so welcoming and accepting. I also love to explore Cook Hall and Old Caples. They are my favorite buildings!

Plans after graduation: I want to go to graduate school most likely for chemistry.

Katie Thurson

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

High School: Stanton College Prep

Year at New College: Third year

Area of Interest: Religion

I was born in Jacksonville and I lived there until I moved to Sarasota to attend New College. I just finished my sixth summer at a summer camp I work at, where I’ve worked almost every position and I’m now the program director. I love summer camp and nature education, and I’m very interested in the intersections between religious education and nature education at summer camp. I was away from New for all of the 2016-2017 school year, as I was studying abroad in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Why I chose New College: I didn’t apply to New College until March of my senior year of high school, and I really didn’t want to go. I went to a very rigorous and grade-focused high school, and I was convinced that any place that didn’t have grades was not the place for me. I ended up choosing New because it was the most financial responsible choice, and I was still unsure during orientation if this was the school for more. I felt so out of place, like everyone was cooler or stranger than I was. After orientation and the first few weeks of classes, I knew I wanted to stay at New. While all my friends from high school were stuck in huge classes and were struggling to maintain a A/B average, I got to know my professors and focus on the material and trying to make progress that was specific to my own abilities. I love New and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Favorite things about NCF: I love the academic program at New College, because it gives you the freedom to learn in your own way, while also ensuring your advisor and professors are involved in your life, so you never feel like you are completely lost and alone. I wanted to study political science when I applied to New College, and now I’m a religion AOC. I would have never sought out new subjects without the freedom and fluidity of the academic program at New College. I was also able to study abroad for a year during my second year, which was absolutely transformative and I am so thankful to New College’s study abroad coordinator/program for that.

Plans after New College: I want to attend law school, but I will most likely take a gap year and apply to teaching fellowships. My dream job would be lobbyist for the American Camp Association.

Jacob Wentz

Hometown: Ocala, Florida

High School: Gulf High School

Year at New College: Second year

Area of Interest: International and Area Studies, French, and Economics

Hey! My name’s Jacob. I grew up on a small farm in New Port Richey, Florida, where most of my time was occupied by animals, nature, and barn work. I knew that I wanted my life to be different than my parents’, so I focused on my education and challenged myself in both the gifted program and the International Baccalaureate program. Thanks to my British mum, I have dual citizenship in the U.S. and UK and have always been interested in life across the pond. I’m passionate about music; I play alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone and work for the Sarasota Orchestra. I’m also one of the editors for our student-run newspaper, the Catalyst. In my free time, I like to go on casual runs, hang out with friends, and eat breakfast foods.

Why I Chose New College: I chose New College because of its small size and value. I knew that I wanted to be a leader in a small environment as opposed to a number in an overwhelmingly large community, and the quality of education for the price is unbeatable. I was also really drawn to the artistic environment around Sarasota; the orchestra, the opera, the museums, etc.

Favorite Things about New College: I really appreciate the personal connections that professors have with students and the amount of academic freedom that each student is given.

Plans after New College: I plan on going to graduate school for either international business, law, or journalism. I’m also interested in applying for teaching grants in Europe. In all honesty, I’m not quite sure yet.

New College Student Panel

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