New College Women’s Giving Circle awards initial gifts

By Liz Lebron

The Women’s Giving Circle, a group of women in the community who joined forces to steer their philanthropic efforts to New College, awarded its first grants to students, faculty and staff during a Nov. 14 luncheon.

“We were honored by the number and breadth of grant requests we received in our inaugural year,” said Geri Serot, who chairs the Women’s Giving Circle. “While we wish we could have funded each of these deserving requests, we are thrilled to award these initial five gifts. As membership in our ‘circle’ grows, we hope to have more funds available for New College’s amazing faculty and staff.”

Assistant Professor of Economics Tracy Collins received a $5,000 grant to connect New College economics students with area high school students from underrepresented populations. Collins will work with New College students to help them understand how to best navigate the economics curriculum on campus. She and the students will then host select ninth- and 10th-grade students for three on-campus seminars to show them the possibilities a career in economics holds for them.

New College students are also welcome to apply for grants from the Women’s Giving Circle. Its inaugural student recipient is Amanda Markee, a first-generation college student who will use the $350 grant for travel to the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. Markee will deliver a talk at the conference sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum, where she worked last summer as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Markee’s work at the Smithsonian yielded the discovery of a new fly species from Namibia.

New College Foundation Executive Director MaryAnne Young expressed her thanks to the Foundation members who spearheaded the project. “We are grateful to the women who stepped up to become inaugural members of the Women’s Giving Circle,” said Young, “and especially to Geri Serot for the impetus to get it going. Women’s voices are often not heard when it comes to philanthropy decisions, but this is changing. We can’t wait to see what transpires in the future.”

Other recipients include Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Science Athena Rycyk and Assistant Professor of Biology Elizabeth Leininger, who will purchase acoustical analysis software to aid in their research, as well as student research projects; Assistant Librarian Tammera Race and Coordinator of Library Operations Barbara Dubreuil for a Banned Books Weeks project titled “See Yourself in Graphic Novels;” and Director of Writing Jennifer Wells, who will launch a peer-to-peer program to recognize the outstanding work of student writing assistants at the Writing Resource Center.

For more information about the Women’s Giving Circle and how you can support its efforts, email or call 941-487-4800.

— Liz Lebron is associate director of communications and marketing at New College of Florida.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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