Skip to First-Year Seminar site navigationSkip to main content

Summer Reading

Ramapo College has a summer reading program that is academically linked to the First-Year Seminar (FYS) course. Students read the book over the summer and come to campus prepared to discuss the book with their FYS classmates. They will also be assigned an essay question in their FYS class based on the book that asks students to exercise their critical thinking skills, their reasoning and analytical thinking skills, and their writing and communication skills.

The book is selected by a committee composed of students, faculty, and staff from the Ramapo College community. Committee members use selection criteria to ensure that the book that is chosen will:

  • Have a strong relation to Ramapo’s mission and/or strategic plan
  • Have literary merit
  • Demand appropriate academic rigor
  • Be engaging
  • Have a subject that will cause students to “stretch”
  • Present an underrepresented perspective

The 2022 FYS Summer Reading Book

The 2022 summer read is Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by investigative journalist David Grann. The book will be featured in the Opening Convocation on Tuesday, 30th August.

Ramapo College Celebrates Good Writing!

You are currently reading Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by investigative journalist David Grann. Now kick off your first year at Ramapo College with some reflection and a shot at a $200 prize. (Up to three winning entries will be selected.)

Essay Question

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI tells a very difficult story that includes both the suffering of the Osage and the frustrations of members of law enforcement trying to bring the killers to justice. What aspects of the story resonate the most with you?


By telling the historical story of the Osage murders, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI explores issues around racism against Native peoples. The book presents a number of experiences and points-of-view while exploring this story, focusing, for example, on Mollie Burkhart in many sections. What does the book seek to reveal about the historical circumstances of a Native American like Mollie Burkhart and why?


Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI includes a significant number of photographs, all black-and-white. What is the effect of including these photographs? How do they help Grann tell this story, considering especially the interplay of photographs with the text?

Contest Parameters:

1) Make sure to reference the summer reading in your essay. You may use supporting evidence from other sources, but your primary source should be Killers of the Flower Moon.

2) Please consider the context of critical thinking when writing your essay.

3) Essays will be judged based on use of text, effectiveness of reflection, and use of supporting evidence.

4) Please limit your response to 1000 words to help us ensure that all submissions receive fair evaluation.

5) All work must be your original contribution.

6) All essays must be received by August 14th, 2022 at 5:00 PM. The three winning essays will be announced at the Opening Convocation.

7) Entries must be submitted to Prof. Yvette Kisor, Director of First-Year Seminar, by attaching your essay to an e-mail message and sending it to this address:

8) Please send your essay as a Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file. You will receive an email acknowledgement of your submission.

Good luck!

Class of 2025 Essay Contest Winners:

Aafnan Alam, Anne-Marie Daly, and Giovanna LaMonica

Past essay winners:

  • Class of 2024: Danielle Bongiovanni, Bobby Ciarletta, and Solie Kang
  • Class of 2023: Danielle di Pentima, Caitlin Kovacs, and Matthew Wikfors
  • Class of 2022: Gabriela Buniowska, Khalisah Hameed, and Taisei Miles
  • Class of 2021: Ashley Francis, Jessica Ryan, and Lauren Storch
  • Class of 2020: Natalie Dahl, Gunnar Hopson, and Rachel Loia
  • Class of 2019: Jose Carrillo, Amie Wuchter, and Scott Yunker, Jr.
  • Class of 2018: John Distefano, Victoria Tommasulo, and Matthew Earl
  • Class of 2017: Nathaniel Birrer, Emily Aurora Boyle, and Josephine Han
  • Class of 2016: Steven Bunin, Jennifer Paldino, and Max Zerbian
  • Class of 2015: Melanie Ciandella, Thomas Colella, and Jonathan Mangel

Suggest a Book for the Next Summer Read

If you’ve read a book that you believe is a “must-read” for new students, please click on the button below and let us know! We’re always open to good suggestions.

Summer Read Suggestion Form

Previous Summer Reads

  • Fall 2021: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
  • Fall 2020: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • Fall 2019: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
  • Fall 2018: The Leavers: A Novel by Lisa Ko
  • Fall 2017: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • Fall 2016: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Fall 2015: Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar
  • Fall 2014: Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey To Reunite with his Mother by Sonia Nazario
  • Fall 2013: Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us by Andrew Keen
  • Fall 2012: American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent
  • Fall 2011: Lies my Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
    by James Loewen
  • Fall 2010: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Fall 2009: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
  • Fall 2008: The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier
  • Fall 2007: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  • Fall 2006: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • Fall 2005: Reading Lolita in Teheran by Azar Nafisi
  • Fall 2004: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn