Meet the 2022 Quaker Ridge Fellows

We are excited to introduce the young women and men from New Rochelle High School who have been admitted to the second class of Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows for the summer of 2022.

In their applications, these students said they were eager to work with mentors and learn more about educational and career opportunities. All of the students have an academic interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as in the arts – music, theater, photography and communication.

The fellows also shared their perspectives on making the world a better place, exploring and honing leadership skills, and developing personal strength and resilience. They are excited to meet the members of the Quaker Ridge Golf Club while working on their golf and tennis skills and making new friends.

The 2022 Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows are:

Brandon Maddox

Brandon Maddox

Brandon is an eleventh grader at New Rochelle High School. He loves to explore new things in his free time. Some of Brandon’s newfound interests include tennis and golf, which he hopes to become better at. At the same time, he hopes to help break the stigma that they are “white sports,” or that it is unusual for people of color to thrive in these areas.

During his time in the program, Brandon looks forward to learning from experts in various fields including law and business, areas he is passionate about and aspires to have a future in. He enjoys thinking critically, debating, and finding solutions in high-pressure situations.

“I do envision myself with a career in law,” he said. “I believe that I would fit very nicely in either a courtroom setting or in a corporate office dealing with contracts.”

Brandon also hopes to be a friend and guide to others, find a tight-knit community through the program, and meet like-minded individuals. “Iron sharpens iron, and I strive to be as sharp as possible,” he added.

Brandon will be interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Lydia Dawit

Lydia Dawit portrait

Lydia is a tenth grader at New Rochelle High School. This bright, budding scientist is passionate about biology and aspires to attend medical school. Lydia is especially interested in studying the human body and neuroscience. Since the fourth grade, her interest in science has only grown every day, because “there are so many branches to science, but there’s always more you can learn and more you can find out.”

Lydia joined the Fellows program hoping to try something new as well as to gain more independence by using this opportunity to start saving up money on her own. She also looks forward to meeting new people and helping foster a sense of community among her peers. 

Lydia will be interning with Head Tennis Professional J.P. McConnell.

Nyah Rosado

Nyah Rosado

Nyah is a tenth grader at New Rochelle High School and an aspiring filmmaker. She loves the feeling of forming “a new world” while creating films and escaping “to a reality that could be different from yours but still add those personal notes.” Nyah also loves to bake in her free time. (She even competed in the “Kids Baking Championship” on the Food Network!) She uses baking to de-stress while working to create the perfect dessert.

During her time as a Fellow, Nyah looks forward to gaining new skills she can use in the future, gaining knowledge about business and industry, and learning from mentors. She values the opportunity to create a close bond with a mentor who can open her eyes to unique points of view. She says, “When taking advice from someone you know or can connect with, you are able to understand what they are teaching you to another level.” 

Nyah will be interning with Chef Joseph Day.

Samantha Benjamin

Samantha Benjamin

Samantha is a tenth grader at New Rochelle High School. She is passionate about science and medicine and hopes to use her knowledge and compassion to serve others, especially black mothers who are often neglected in hospital settings and thus put in danger. Samantha was moved by hearing about Serena Williams’ experience during childbirth. Her pain was dismissed by the doctors treating her, which could have been fatal. One of her motivations for becoming a doctor is to prevent the untimely deaths of black mothers.

“Medicine bridges the gap between science and society, allowing individuals all over the world to be cured, healed, and comforted,” she said.

Samantha loves to read medical journals in her free time and learn more about the “remarkable machine” that is the human body. Samantha has also developed an interest in business as a byproduct of the classes she has taken in school. In the future, she hopes to integrate her passions for business and medicine by establishing her own private practice.

Samantha looks forward to being someone her peers can “open up to and be themselves around.”

Samantha will be interning with General Manager Bob Musich.

Nia Gooden

Nia Gooden

Nia is a ninth-grader at New Rochelle High School. She looks forward to acquiring skills and knowledge for succeeding in the future, including perseverance, networking, leadership, and learning more about the world.

She is also excited to get out on the course and court. Nia is passionate about public speaking, self-improvement, and community service. She is excited to talk with her peers and potential mentors about these topics and to learn from their experiences as well.

Nia will be interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Amitra Brown

Amitra Brown is a rising senior at New Rochelle High School. In her junior year she studied Science of Food, Geometry, Spanish, U.S. History, and Photography in Studio. She is interested in the medical field and hopes to become a radiologist. She’s originally from Jamaica, and in 2017 she received an award for being the best role model at her school.

Amitra, an honor roll student, hopes to “receive opportunities to learn new leadership skills and make new friends through the Quaker Ridge Fellows Program.” Amitra is a very hardworking and dedicated person in everything she does, and she always motivates herself to “keep working hard no matter how things go because it will be all worth it in the end.” She loves being around her family and baking.

Amitra will be interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Luis Gonzalez, Returning Fellow

Luis Gonzalez

Luis Gonzalez is a junior at New Rochelle High School who has a passion for math and science and is studying AP Mandarin, Calculus 3/Ordinary Differential Equations, AP Physics C, and AP United States History. As current treasurer and future president of the Math Honor Society, Luis hopes to “spread his love of math with everyone around him” and help struggling students “survive the tidal wave that is mathematics.” He pursues rigorous study “to build his endurance and confidence.” In all he undertakes, Luis “strives for a more challenging and better future.”

After interning last year with J.P. McConnell and the tennis team at Quaker Ridge, Luis has developed a newfound relationship with tennis. “I never imagined that Quaker Ridge would be the place where I learned the value of true hard work,” Luis wrote. “But after working at the club, I can say my life has forever changed for the better.”

Luis plans on using skills learned during tennis throughout his life. “I am still young; many years still lie ahead of me,” Luis said, “but tennis has equipped me to take on any obstacles I encounter.”

Luis will be interning with Head Tennis Professional J.P. McConnell.

Darrin Greaves II, Returning Fellow

Darrin Greaves

Darrin Greaves II is a junior at New Rochelle High School who studies AP Calc BC, AP Mandarin, AP History, and AP Biology. He also volunteers his time to help several causes, such as being on the organizing committee for the environmental walk in New Rochelle and tutoring students in science and Mandarin.

He began attending the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program in middle school and writes that the experience “taught me both independence and how to communicate at a young age, as well as how to interact and live with people from different cultures and backgrounds.” The communication and leadership skills he learned during those years provided a foundation for his growth in many areas and have propelled him to succeed in several academic clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities throughout high school.

Some of these accomplishments include induction into the Science Honor Society, Mandarin Honor Society, and The National Honor Society; he is the current Vice President of the Young Achievers, the Secretary of the Quaranteen Tutors, and is currently the captain of the New Rochelle High School basketball team. He has a passion for drawing, which he does in his spare time, and also enjoys writing poetry. He was selected on more than one occasion to read his works publicly and has been published in the Poetry Out Loud publication.

Darrin has a keen interest in science and marine biology, with a love for the environment and how the ecosystem works. He plans to major in marine biology in college and wants to “explore the seas in his future life.” Darrin also wants to explore how to help oceans get healthy, reversing coral reef extinctions and plastic pollution while investigating elusive species.

Darrin said that he “would tell my future self about the importance of communication, remaining focused, and continuing to learn new things” and that he would remind himself that “life has so much to offer and it’s important to be true to myself, be moral, and treat people how I would like to be treated. There is a big world outside of New Rochelle, and you should continue to explore it.”

Darrin will be interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Alexander Ciriaco, Returning Fellow

Alex Ciriaco

Alexander Ciriaco is a senior at New Rochelle High School who is studying accounting, business law, and statistics.

Alexander enjoys “discussing politics and debating world history” and wants to pursue a career in economics. He said that these educational experiences will help shape his goals of becoming a financial advisor and accountant. For Alexander, scientific research is a foundation to learning, and he is excited to finish his final year of high school and prepare for college. He looks forward to taking calculus, AP MACROeconomics, and SUPA ELA. He says that he also “loves playing football and rugby, watching anime, playing video games, gardening, and hanging out with my family and my dogs, Echo and Princess.”

Alexander puts his family first, and “church and education are non-negotiables in our house.” He has suffered the loss of both his father and grandmother. His father, Carlixto Julian Ciriaco, was a professional caddy, and Alexander’s father and uncle, Tio Jose, made sure that Alexander learned how to play golf. Alexander’s grandmother suffered respiratory problems, and he helped her by “doing simple chores to make her comfortable.” Six years ago, Alexander’s father died from a heart attack. He wrote that the only thing he can take away from these “painful experiences is that they make me stronger, committed and determined.” Alexander says that “keeping his dad’s legacy alive and fulfilling his grandma’s dreams for him” means he “strives to do his best, every day.”

As a fellow, Alexander would like to strengthen his “communication, team-building, leadership and soft skills.” He thinks “it will be fun learning together with other teenagers and meeting new friends.”

Alexander will be interning with Golf Course Superintendent Tom Ashfield.