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Franklin, Bonnie Driskill Memorial Scholarship

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This scholarship was established by John Franklin to honor his late wife Bonnie, who served as assistant vice president for Marketing and Communications at Ramapo College. In creating this scholarship, Mr. Franklin sought to honor Bonnie’s passion for reading, and how she instilled that passion in her children and grandchildren. He also sought to memorialize Bonnie’s devotion to family, children, education, art, literature and democratic values.

In writing down his thoughts on the impetus for the Bonnie Franklin Memorial Scholarship, John Franklin wrote, “Bonnie Driskill Franklin was an early reader … who never stopped reading all her life.” He described how Bonnie passed this gift to her children, a tradition they continue with their children. “And so her children and grandchildren have learned much about art, literature and the interconnectedness of all humanity,” he wrote.

John describes how Bonnie translated this gift into her work life and as a volunteer. “In her career Bonnie was engaged in research, writing and public relations at the Cincinnati Public Library, County College of Morris and Ramapo College where she was assistant vice president for Marketing and Communications. She was part of many reading groups, the League of Women Voters, Women in Communication in New Jersey, The Unitarian Universalist Church and other organizations.”

“This scholarship is dedicated with the hope that others, especially men, will be inspired to take an interest in children’s literature and its use in helping children and parents enjoy life fully,” John continues. “It is hoped that through children’s literature we will find ways to promote tolerance and understanding of ourselves and others.”

Specifically, John’s purposes in establishing the Bonnie Franklin Memorial Scholarship are to encourage and support students who are interested in children’s literature as a means of helping children develop intellectually and emotionally; the development of social and emotional intelligence as a part of our education system; advocating for children’s literature as a means of helping parents do a better job of reading to their children; advocating for children’s literature as a means of helping men find their role in child development; developing knowledge and understanding of literature that helps children appreciate diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, gender preference, and physical ability

  • For students interested in literature, literacy or education
  • Male candidates preferred
  • Financial need taken into account as determined by the Foundation policy
  • Applicants must submit an essay, (1-2 pages), describing how they would further the goals of the Scholarship either through literacy volunteering, a course they are taking or another appropriate experience.

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2017 Recipients

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson believes the education of children is a task of indescribable importance.  On learning of his scholarship award he remarked, “Due in large part to the scholarship you’ve awarded me, I am able to continue rising to the challenge and enjoying my time at Ramapo as I continue moving closer to becoming the teacher I want to be and the student I will always be.”

The Literature major (and Teacher Education minor) has a 3.5 GPA and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.

He took part in an Alternative Spring Break program to Staten Island to assist in Hurricane Sandy relief and also writes yearly contributions to Trillium, Ramapo’s literary publication.

Ryan has been involved in several off-campus activities, including the Appalachia Service Project and the Boy Scouts of America, through which he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012. Post-graduation, he plans to teach high school English and capitalize on his summers off by volunteering with Appalachia Service project and similar organizations.

He is from Denville, NJ.

Heidi Pilla

“I hope to make an impact on children’s lives by teaching elementary school and getting my Master’s in special education,” said Heidi Pilla of South Plainfield, NJ.  The Literature major has a 3.7 GPA and remains on the Dean’s List.

Heidi is part of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), where she serves as vice president, Sigma Tau Delta, the Ramapo Leadership Institute and Relay for Life.

Off campus, Heidi has volunteered as a tutor for Teaneck’s Math Adventures and Word Play and the South Plainfield Special Olympics. “I’m proud to consistently be a member of the Dean’s list, in addition to playing on the Ramapo Women’s lacrosse team and being involved on campus,” she added.

2016 Recipient

Dawn Wilkenfeld

Dawn Wilkenfeld of Springfield, N.J. is majoring in Psychology and Education. She has a 3.86 GPA. Dawn was inducted into six honor societies: Golden Key, Alpha Lambda Delta, Kappa Delta Pi, Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars.

At Ramapo, Dawn has been active in several activities, including the College Programming Board, Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassadors, and the Residence Hall Council.

Dawn has also been involved in the Student Literacy Corps, whose main focus is to prevent illiteracy.  Through reciprocal learning, she tutored urban education students in Paterson, N.J.


2015 Recipients

Ben Reinhardt

Benjamin Z. Reinhardt of Bedminster, New Jersey is a Literature major with a Creative Writing concentration. He has a 3.8 grade point average. He is a member of Chi Alpha Epsilon, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Sigma Tau Delta Literature Honor Society.

At Ramapo, Ben Reinhardt is a consultant at the Center for Reading and Writing


Cynthia Loud


Cynthia is a junior at Ramapo College majoring in Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing.   She is also pursuing a  Teacher Education Certificate.  Cynthia  works  on campus at the Office of Specialized Services (OSS), as both a Test Scribe and a Coach. She is in the Honors Program, an Honors Development Group Co-leader, and the Treasurer of Ramapo College Beekeeping Club (RCBC).

Danielle Corcione

Danielle Corcione of Ocean View, N.J., is a literature major with a concentration in creative writing. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and was inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta Literary Honor Society. Danielle has a 3.73 grade point average.

At Ramapo, Danielle has been active in Residence Life, the Potter Library, the Educational Opportunity Fund, Ramapo College Democrats, Model United Nations and the Ramapo News.

Danielle particularly enjoyed participating in a Study Abroad program in Prague, Czech Republic. Danielle plans to attend graduate school to become a college professor.

2014 Recipient

Shannon Mahoney

Shannon Mahoney of Wenonah, NJ is a Literature major who is pursuing Teacher Education certification. When Shannon was in elementary school, she completed required volunteer work at the library and turned the once-a-week requirement into four days. She helped re-shelve books, gave suggestions on new books to order and helped the librarian create activities to encourage student involvement in reading. Shannon also started a book club among friends. Her goal to become a high school English teacher was solidified when, in her senior year of high school, she participated in a program for potential teachers. At Ramapo, Shannon is active in Ramapo Readers and Future Teachers at Ramapo, among other clubs. She was inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta Literature Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. “Everyone deserves the culturally and intellectually richness of a literature education and the ability to read,” she said. Shannon has a 3.88 grade point average.

2013 Recipient

Ashley Intveld

Ashley Intveld of Vernon, NJ is a double major in Literature and Communication Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She chose both because they are areas that represent her desire to connect with people and better understand the world in which she lives. Ashley is the assistant editor of The Stillwater Review, a compilation of poetry by national writers that is distributed from Sussex County, NJ. She is proud of being accepted to the New Jersey STARS program; she completed an associate degree at Sussex County Community College before transferring to Ramapo. Ashley is a member of the Golden Key Honour Society and Phi Theta Kappa. She also has a blogger page, Black, No Sugar. Ashley has a 4.00 grade point average.

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