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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 5, 2020

Ramapo student and Benjamin A. Gillman Scholarship recipient Patrice Lenowitz in Cusco, Peru

MAHWAH, N.J. – When Ramapo College student Patrice Lenowitz ’20 learned last fall that she received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and would be traveling to Cusco, Peru, for an intensive study abroad course, she was thrilled. Yet, Patrice, who is majoring in professional communications through the College’s Degree Completion Program (DCP), also worried she might be “too old” and it would be “too difficult and too expensive” to travel out of the country for three weeks. Happily, those concerns are gone for good.

“My family and the incredible [Ramapo] staff encouraged me to go for it and not have age or circumstance hold me back,” said Patrice, who was among the nearly 1,500 United States undergraduate students – and one of only six in New Jersey – selected to participate in credit-bearing study abroad programs. “I was immersed in a new culture, a new subject, a new language and I had the chance to study with students from all corners of the United States.” The coursework, which focused on climate change issues, gave Patrice, who worked closely with the Roukema Center for International Education, the opportunity to study South American climes and atmospheric changes that affected the earth below. Among the highlights of the trip was a trek that took Patrice and her fellow students 17,000 feet above sea level to the top of Rainbow Mountain.

“I returned home [in late January] with a renewed love and concern for our precious planet earth,” said Patrice, who came to Ramapo after a years-long hiatus from college studies. Previously, she completed an associate’s degree at Bergen Community College in 2008 but took time off for personal reasons.

As part of her scholarship, Patrice, the first-ever DCP student to win such an award, will share information about her experience with current and prospective DCP students, explained Patricia Laprey, director of Ramapo’s Degree Completion Program. “I hope her experience will inspire and encourage other adult students to consider how they might incorporate studying abroad as part of their degree.”

Ramapo’s Degree Completion Program provides pathways for adult students, specifically working professionals, to finish their undergraduate degrees in a format that recognizes the complexities of their lives and acknowledges the increasing necessity of post-secondary credentialing.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, established in 2001 and named after the late Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York, enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study or intern abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance, international airfare, passport and visa fees.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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