Meet the 2023 Quaker Ridge Fellows

We are excited to introduce the young women and men from New Rochelle High School who have been admitted to the third class of Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows for the summer of 2023.

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.

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 2023 Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows are:

Julian Belfast

Julian Belfast

Julian Belfast is a rising junior at New Rochelle High School who studied AP physics, AP computer science, honors calculus, Latin, English and social studies in his sophomore year. He also competes on the high school’s debate team and tutors elementary school students at an after-school program.

In Julian’s free time, he enjoys customizing gaming apps through coding, learning about astronomy, and playing soccer.

Julian is interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Samantha Benjamin

Samantha Benjamin

Samantha is a rising senior 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.

As well as gynecology, Samantha is interested in the field of anesthesiology, which combines medical expertise with advanced techniques to ensure patient comfort, safety, and optimal outcomes during surgical procedures.

Samantha is a driven and accomplished individual who has consistently demonstrated exceptional work in her studies. With a strong academic background, Samantha’s membership in the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, and National English Honor Society has allowed her to display her academic achievements, leadership skills, and commitment to service.

Beyond the academic sphere, Samantha has also showcased remarkable leadership abilities. Through her volunteer work and responsibilities within student organizations, Samantha has made significant contributions that have had a positive impact on her community.

During her fellowship, Samantha looks forward to engaging with professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries and hopes to expand her network and foster meaningful connections that will contribute to her personal and professional growth.

Samantha is interning with General Manager Bob Musich.

Amitra Brown

Amitra Brown

During Amitra Brown’s senior year at New Rochelle High School, she studied Sports & Social Justice, Business Law, Economics & Personal Finance, and Marine Science.

Amitra enjoys interacting with new people, learning new things, baking, reading, and listening to music. She is very passionate about being a health professional in the future, which led to her
decision to attend Mercy College in the fall to study health science and pursue a career in the medical field.

As a returning fellow, Amitra hopes to enjoy her summer and meet new people, and most importantly to show her leadership skills by helping others and making others feel open and comfortable around her.

Her message to other fellows is to “hold your head up high when other things may seem to get low because many of you are moving on to a new chapter in your lives soon and there are going to be obstacles you will be facing, so it’s really important to have good support and never give up.’’

Amitra is interning with Head Tennis Professional J.P. McConnell.

Alexander Ciriaco

Alexander Ciriaco senior portrait

Alexander Ciriaco studied accounting, business law, statistics and theater during his senior at New Rochelle High School.

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, accountant and CEO.

For Alexander, scientific research is a foundation to learning, and he looks forward to starting his studies at University of Buffalo in the fall and then transferring to Cornell to attain a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics. He says that he also “loves designing and building sets for school theater performances, playing football and rugby, watching anime, playing video games, gardening, and hanging out with my family and my dog Princess and new puppy Dusse Benson.”

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.” Seven 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 third-year Fellow, Alexander looks forward to caddying while continuing to strengthen his “communication, team-building, leadership and soft skills.” He says “it is always fun learning together with other teenagers and meeting new friends.”

This summer Alexander is interning for Tom Ashfield.

Alexander is interning with Golf Course Superintendent Tom Ashfield.

Nia Gooden

Nia Gooden 2023 fellow

Nia is a rising junior at New Rochelle High School who plans to work as a practicing therapist.

She is preparing for her future career by taking a psychology class next year and plans to take psychology and neuroscience classes her senior year. Her goal is to learn the skill of working with and helping all different types of people so she is able to be a personable therapist one day. She wants to be able to equip people with the tools to confidently face their lives.

During the school year she loves to enrich her public-speaking and critical-thinking skills by competing on the debate team. Working in the golf shop, she is eager to gain more experience serving and working with people. She’s excited to have the opportunity to learn from golf and tennis experts again and can’t wait to see what new lessons I will be able to learn from my mentor and from my peers.

Nia is interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.

Viridiana Hernandez

Viridiana Hernandez

Viridiana Hernandez is a rising junior who is interested in art and devotes much of her free time to it. She would like art to be part of her career some day because it allows her to be creative and use her imagination. She says that through art she’s learned that everyone is unique and mistakes can turn into something beautiful.

She says she is ready to be a fellow and is looking forward to being mentored and learning new things that can be used toward her education and career goals. She is ready to get to know the members and the other fellows. Her goals for the summer are to become more socially engaged and to develop the skills that allow me to get to know others.

Viridiana is interning with Head Tennis Professional J.P. McConnell.

Leila Massey

Leila Massey

Leila Massey, a rising senior at New Rochelle High School, is an honor roll student, community volunteer and peer tutor. She wants to become an elementary school teacher.

A self-starter who loves to connect with people, Leila participates in various organizations in her school such as the Ignite mentorship program, NAACP, The Business Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. In her spare time, Leila volunteers with the theater group at The Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, and she also volunteered at various food pantries during the pandemic.

Leila loves baking in her spare time, and she and a partner bake desserts and sell them during their school’s lunch hour.

During her time working as a Fellow, Leila hopes to gain a multitude of knowledge in the different topics this program has to offer.

Leila is interning with Eduardo Dimas, Front of House, and Ann Freeman, Comptroller’s Office.

Reagan Riley

Reagan Riley

Reagan Riley is a rising junior at New Rochelle High School who plans to study Forensics, AP U.S History, AP Language, and screenwriting in the fall. She’s involved in track, acting, and filmmaking. Reagan likes to keep herself busy and explore new things, from participating in sports to being creative.

Reagan wants to pursue a college program in filmmaking and is determined to be a screenwriter and director. She wants to better understand the creative process of developing artistic films. Ever since Reagan was little, she had a fascination with movies, from binge-watching them to making homemade movies with her neighbors.

Reagan is interning with Head Tennis Professional J.P. McConnell.

Nyah Rosado

Nyah Rosado

Nyah is 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 is interning with Head Golf Professional Mario Guerra.