Skip to News / Media site navigationSkip to main content

RCNJ Cares

The Ramapo community has always gone above and beyond to help others during difficult times. Now, more than ever, Ramapo folks are stepping up.
We are celebrating the kindness and contributions of our Ramapo College colleagues who are helping to support and care for others – from working on the front lines to sewing masks or delivering goodie bags to those who deserve a ‘thank you.’ We are showcasing those stories here.

We want to hear how you or your Ramapo College colleagues are supporting and caring for others. Tell us how you are showing that #RCNJCares. Submit your story through our online Submission Form.

#RCNJCares Submission FormGive to the Covid-19 Relief Fund Now


Extending an International Hand

Rajesh Adhikari, Associate Director of International Student and Scholar Services, was instrumental in securing a donation of Indian food for the 21 international students remaining in the residence halls. The food was donated by Alpana Shah, CEO of AMTRADE Inc. in NYC. Raj also helped in the distribution of the safely packaged food items. Said one student, "We really enjoyed the food. It was a nice treat. But most of all, we truly appreciated Raj's effort to make us feel at home."

Nursing Career Choice Reinforced

Nursing student Kayla Gill ’22 began volunteering for the Common Health Project in May in an effort to give back to the courageous healthcare workers in need of essential protection. This organization has created more than 10,000 shields since it started in April. Kayla helps construct 10-20 shields per week and delivers the completed shields to various healthcare facilities. Said Kayla, “As a nursing major, this pandemic has made me want to pursue my career choice even more, so I wanted to help in any way possible. Volunteering for the Common Health Project has been rewarding and has allowed me to connect with my community, knowing that the face shields are going to places where they are truly needed. I am looking forward to continuing the construction of face shields for as long as they are needed to show my gratitude to doctors, nurses, technicians, and other workers.”

Physics Lab Continues to Make an Impact

Working from the College's physics lab, Ihor Sydoryk, Engineering Physics Lab Coordinator, Kamil Starczak, Biology Lab Coordinator and Edward Saiff, dean of Ramapo’s School of Theoretical and Applied Science, continue to produce 3D-printed face shield components for protective masks for front-line health care workers. The collaborative project, of which Ramapo is a part, includes 45 schools and small and big businesses combining their efforts. The result to date has been the creation of nearly 5,000 protective medical masks.

Students Step Up

Jake DaCosta and Joy Bochis, both of whom are students in Ramapo’s nursing program, represent the courage and dedication of the Class of 2020. Jake and Joy have been working countless hours as EMTs on the West Paterson, N.J., First Aid Squad. Thank you both for your efforts during this difficult time and congratulations on your accomplishments.  

Communication is Key

Lindsey Jachens '12

Lindsey Jachens '12 teaches 3rd grade at Memorial Elementary School in Montvale. She said she learned how to budget time and multitask while playing basketball and volleyball and studying at Ramapo, which proved to be invaluable skills during this time of distance-learning. She is grateful that communication skills were emphasized in her coursework, which enables her to work more effectively now with parents and students.

Compassionate Care

Sandra Granito '13

Sandra Granito '13 is a medical pulmonary ICU nurse at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in South Carolina. "As someone who cares for our sickest Covid-19 patients, I can state that it requires compassion and knowledge to care for these patients in such an isolated world. My education at Ramapo has certainly prepared me to work in these unprecedented times."

Sacrifice Is Worth It

Jamie Anderson '20

Jamie Anderson ’20 is set to graduate from the College’s nursing program. She has been working non-stop, sometimes for 40-hour shifts, as an EMT for the Cliffside Park EMS Center and in St. Joseph’s Hospital critical care unit. Almost all the patients she has cared for are Covid-19 positive. “It hasn't been easy, taking mothers and fathers away from their families, watching the families stand on their porches as we place their loved ones in the ambulance never knowing if they will see them again. I often feel helpless, wondering why I even chose to become a nurse, and then you see one vented patient make it out, home to their family and you realize all the sacrifices are worth it.”

Keeping Kids Healthy

Cory Cannici '10

Cory Cannici '10, owner of Evolve Training & The Parisi Speed School in Franklin Lakes, gives back to the community by offering free online fitness instruction for everyone. More than 1,100 Paterson Boys & Girls Club kids have been using the app to stay healthy during the quarantine.

Tiniest Patients

Carly Lozosky ’19

Carly Lozosky ’19 works as a Mother/Baby Registered Nurse in the Maternity Center at Morristown Medical Center. Carly said she is one of the nurses who care for Covid-positive postpartum mothers and their babies. “They are usually physically separated throughout their hospitalization,” said Carly.

A New Calling

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith, a 2017 graduate of the Anisfield School of Business, majored in IT Management. He went on to study at SUNY, with the goal of working in nursing informatics. He is now a nurse at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. “Normally, I am working in oncology/chemotherapy, but for the past few months I have primarily treated acute care COVID patients.”

Thankful for the Support

Cathlynne Valmores ’16

Cathlynne Valmores ’16 works at The Valley Hospital and is currently in studying in Ramapo’s MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. She has collaborated with the College’s undergraduate nursing program as an adjunct clinical instructor for senior nursing students. “I am thankful for all the support from Ramapo and the community, and I want to give a special shoutout to the Wyckoff Girl Scout troop for donating headbands to the hospital!”

Front Line Defense

Beth Lutchen-Pharis ’09

Beth Lutchen-Pharis ’09 is a nurse in a hospital emergency room in San Antonio, Texas which treated some of the first COVID patients in the U.S. “These patients were Americans sent from Wuhan, China as well as some of the cruise ships that were quarantined at the nearby military base. We are making sure we screen and treat appropriately anyone who comes in to the ER in order to protect our patients and staff.”

Helping Family & Friends

Alumni Association President Carolyn Merkel

To help keep family and friends protected while working on the front line or when leaving their homes for essential shopping, Alumni Association President Carolyn Merkel '78 reconnected with her old Singer sewing machine to make protective masks. She made about two dozen. “My friend who works at a dialysis clinic said there were no protective equipment when the crisis began,” said Carolyn. “She was my inspiration to do this.”

Helping North Jersey Residents

Joseph Giglio Helping North Jersey Residents

As the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many of us live right now, sophomore marketing major Joseph Giglio saw an opportunity to help. “I started this business just because I noticed an untapped service that people were so desperately in need of,” says Giglio about the launch of We Shop for You North Jersey, which provides personal shopping services to residents in North Jersey. Despite being furloughed from his part-time job, his entrepreneurial spirit is not the main reason he began the service. “My sole purpose for this service is doing a positive thing during this pandemic. The money isn't a huge deal for me but I heard all these stories of people getting ripped off by other delivery services...and decided that something needed to be done.”

Answering a call

Lisa Ambrose organized the Girl Scout Troop 24 of Wyckoff

Donor Relations Coordinator Lisa Ambrose organized the Girl Scout Troop 24 of Wyckoff in the making of special headbands with buttons. Lisa saw a post on social media from an emergency room nurse who said wearing the surgical masks for long periods of time was hurting their ears. The elastic that wraps behind the ears was irritating and, in some cases, creating painful sores. Lisa, her daughter Natalie and others in the Girl Scout troop sewed buttons on 200 headbands and donated them to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J.

Dedicated to the Work

Jeffrey Bellens

Jeffrey Bellens worked for Ramapo College’s Upward Bound program for several years, serving in various positions. He graduated in 2019 from the Ramapo nursing program and secured a job at The Valley in Ridgewood, N.J. He recently was ill with COVID-19 and recovered, eventually returning to work. He is a truly dedicated healthcare professional.

Custom Designed

Ramapo Associate Professor of Theater and Costume Design Beba Shamash

Ramapo Associate Professor of Theater and Costume Design Beba Shamash used fabric from the costume studio on campus to sew masks for the essential workers who continue to do their jobs at the College on a daily basis. Her efforts were contagious. When staff members heard what she was doing, they also did some sewing, creating dozens of masks for the College’s on-campus personnel.

Ramapo’s Nursing Alumni

Ramapo’s Nursing Alumni

Ramapo’s nursing alumni are among those working on the front lines of the COVID pandemic. Alumnae April Dela Cruz ’10 (pictured), Caitlin Burke ’09 and their colleagues in the critical care units at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., are staying strong and helping to protect lives.

Faculty Do Their Part

Ramapo Professor of Finance Murray Sabrin and his wife Florence

Ramapo Professor of Finance Murray Sabrin and his wife Florence we inspired by other colleagues to show their appreciation for those on the front lines. The Sabrins thanked the nurses at Englewood Hospital with 84 “goodie bags” of snacks and treats. They delivered the donation to a special Englewood Foundation drop-off site in Teaneck, N.J.

Alumnus on the Job

Alumnus on the Job

William Gannon ‘11, a current first-year MBA student at Ramapo, is employed at Ports America in Jersey City as a Terminal Operations Planner. He is standing in front of a vessel carrying multiple containers that hold thousands of COVID-19 testing kits. Says Gannon, “I would like to thank all the men and women working at the ports to help keep the economy moving during these challenging times.”

Abdulai Swaray Cares

Abdulai Swaray Cares

Abdulai Swaray '17 has kept busy during his quarantine.  Besides finishing his Master Degree in Cyber Security at George Mason University, he has taught himself to sew and undertaken the task of sewing masks which he has donated to friends and family, as well as to fellow alumni, nurses and police.  To date he has made 50 masks.  Abdulai says he is motivated by a quote from Mother Teresa: "We are called to do small things with great love."

3D Ingenuity at Work

3D Ingenuity at Work

Ihor Sydoryk, Engineering Physics Lab Coordinator, Kamil Starczak, Biology Lab Coordinator and Edward Saiff, dean of Ramapo’s School of Theoretical and Applied Science, are collaborating with Thor Industries in the 3D printing of components of face shields that will be donated to front-line health care workers.