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Columbians of New Jersey Italian Studies Award Scholarship

A non-profit philanthropic organization, the Columbians Inc. of New Jersey is comprised of Italian-American business leaders and professionals. The organization has raised more than $1 million for scholarships, to relieve hardship, and for cultural and Italian heritage programs. The Columbians established this endowed fund at Ramapo in 1998 to support efforts on the Ramapo campus that “promote Italian history, language, and culture.” Since then the fund has supported a variety of programs such as lectures by Fulbright scholars, scholarships for students studying abroad in Italy, and an excursion for students to attend Italian Opera at Lincoln Center in New York City. An annual component of the program is the Italian Studies Awards.


  • Professor of Italian Rosetta D'Angelo selects the recipients from students minoring in Italian who have excellent academic performance and demonstrate a great interest in Italian language and culture

2022 Recipients

Julia Sassano

Julia Sassano of Wyckoff, N.J. is a Marketing major with an Italian minor. She has a 3.5 GPA and has made the Dean’s List several times.

She is an active member of Sigma Delta Tau, Italian Club, and Relay for Life. Within her sorority, she has served as Executive VP on the executive board and Apparel Coordinator on the general board. 

Julia is also in the process of launching her own clothing store. 

Isabella Testa

Isabella Testa of Denville, N.J. is a Business Administration major with a focus in Marketing and a double minor in Italian and Civic and Community Leadership. She has a 3.7 GPA and is on the Dean’s List.

On campus, she is the President and Marketing Chair of Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity on campus. She is also Vice President of Public Relations for the Professional Fraternity Council and a member of the Italian Club and the Women in Business Club.

Off campus, she has a full-time job as a manager involved in sales. 

2021 Recipients

Monica Brito

Monica Brito of Union City, N.J. is a Business Administration major with an Italian minor. She is a returning student. While at Ramapo, she helped the Roadrunners Tennis Team win its first WIAC Championship in the 1987-88 season and served as an Resident Assistant for 4 years. She is now involved in the Italian Club.

Currently, Monica works at the Systems Engineering Research Center at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. 

In her hometown, she is involved with St. Joseph and Michael Parish as a volunteer for their confirmation program and the pastoral and finance council. She is also a member of the Neocatechumenal Way. “I am deeply rooted in my faith and believe that individual stewardship is the key to the wellbeing of society,” says Monica. 

Raquia Brewster

Raquia Brewster of Morristown, N.J. is a Psychology major with a minor in Italian. She has a 3.8 GPA and has made the Dean’s List several times. She has been inducted into the following honor societies: National Society of Leadership and Success, Psi Chi, and Chi Alpha Epsilon.

Raquia is in the Peer Facilitation Program, President of the Italian Club, and an Orientation Program Coordinator. She is proud of successfully engaging with and welcoming students through her leadership positions. 

Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to continue helping students succeed through a career path in Student Affairs. 

2020 Recipient

Michaela Zabel

Michaela N. Zabel of Belleair Beach, Florida is a dual major in International Studies and Political Science. She is also pursuing an Italian Studies Minor. She has a cumulative GPA of 3.8 and has been on the Dean’s List since her enrollment.

Michaela has been active in several honors organizations such as Alpha Lambda Delta and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She has also been a member of the Ramapo Honors Special Committee E-board and has helped to host several college community events. She works with Residence Life as a Desk Attendant (DA).

She has also continued to be involved with Scouts of America in her spare time. She volunteers for scouting events and weekend camps at Broad Creek Scout Reservation in Maryland. She has also helped out with the Girl Scout Sand-Piper Service Unit in her home state of Florida.

After graduation, she plans to work within the U.S. Department of State, and then pursue a career as a political and cultural consultant, whether independently or with a firm.

2019 Recipients

Thomas DiGregorio

Thomas DiGregorio of Rahway, N.J. is a History major with minors in Italian and International Business. As a first generation college student, he is proud to have achieved Dean’s List twice. He has a 3.3 GPA and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society. He has served as the Treasurer of the Italian Club since May 2017.
Thomas interned abroad with Vervece Charter in Massa Lubrense, Italy. “After graduation, I plan on working with an Italian company with hopes of traveling there for work.”

Pietro Lombardo

Pietro Lombardo of Frankford, N.J. is a Political Science major with an Italian minor. He has a 3.9 GPA. Pietro has been a Dean’s List student during all three semesters that he has completed, been inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and is a member of the Honors Program.

Through his involvement in the Peer Facilitation program and Honors Development Group (HDG) on campus, and has assisted first-year students in their transition to college. As an Honors E-Board member Pietro is responsible for coordinating events in the Honors program and ensuring that students’ voices are being heard.

Pietro works at the Wyckoff YMCA Before/Aftercare program. In this position he is responsible for caring for children from grades kindergarten through fifth before and after they go to school for the day. The job entails assisting students with homework, joining them in games, ensuring that the students remain respectful around each other and adults, as well as other caretaking duties. As a YMCA employee he is able to aid elementary school students in an environment that promotes growth and thoughtfulness. Pietro aspires to go to law school post-graduation.

2018 Recipient

Jessica Fondacaro

Jessica Fondacaro of North Haledon, NJ is a Business Administration major with a concentration in marketing and a minor in Italian. She has a GPA of 2.9.

At Ramapo, Jessica has been active in several organizations and activities, including the Italian Club.

Jessica has also been involved in off-campus activities and organizations such as a photography club. She has worked at Gelotti Ice Cream throughout her college career and has done very well there. She was recently promoted to supervisor and was enthusiastic to accept the responsibility.

She is a reliable person who cares a lot about others. Jessica is an avid photographer, and would like to pursue something that combines both her passion for photography with her business degree.





2017 Recipients

Rosa Montemarano

Rosa Montemarano of Paramus, NJ is a Nursing major and Italian minor. She has a 3.95 GPA and is a member of the Alpha Delta Lambda Honor society. She is proud to take part in the vigorous nursing major for she wishes to become a nurse practitioner. Her Italian background and culture strengthens her position as a future nurse.


At Ramapo, Rosa has been active in the Italian Club, Big Brothers and Sisters program, and various community service trips to local towns. As the Treasurer of the Italian Club, she manages the club’s budget and seeks new opportunities that the club can partake in.


Rosa has also been involved in off –campus activities and organizations, including her job as a physical therapist aid, her membership at La Societa San Rocco Di Morra De Santis, and coaching basketball and soccer.


Dominick Daddetto

Dominick Daddetto is from Secaucus, NJ.  He is  majoring in Liberal Studies.

2016 Recipients

Dominick Daddetto


Dominick Daddetto of Secaucus N.J. is a liberal studies major with a concentration in Italian.

He has a 3.3 grade point average and has made the dean’s list three times since starting Ramapo College.

At Ramapo, Dominick has been active in several organizations and activities, including being the Italian tutor in the laboratory as well as being the Vice President and Treasurer of the Italian club.

Dominick has also been involved in off –campus activities and organizations, including being a part of the 2015 Rutgers study abroad program in Italy.





Rosa Javier

Rosa Javier of Easton, PA is a Music and Liberal Studies major with minors in Italian and French, and concentrations in Music Performance and Music Industry.  She has a 3.8 GPA and is part of the Golden Key Honor Society.

A member of Ramapo’s Gospel Chorus, Rosa has also combined her interests in Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean studies through coursework in jazz, Haitian studies, and French civilization.  She has been active in the Italian Club, Music Club, and Italian Conversation hour.

Off campus, Rosa has volunteered at her local homeless shelter and is involved in The International Conference of Caribbean Literature (in Brazil).

Dominick Daddetto

Dominick Daddetto is from Secaucus, NJ.  He is  majoring in Liberal Studies.

2015 Recipients

Matthew Soran

Jill Smith

Ella Shadi Ashabi

Ella Ashabi of Upper Saddle River, NJ is a Communications major and an Italian minor. She is secretary of the Italian Club. Ella has held off-campus jobs in child care, retail and management. She is proud to have completed an internship about which she says, “I have grown and learned what the business world expects of me.” A second time recipient of this scholarship, Ella says it “helped me pay for my books, which may not seem like a big thing to some, but it was a big deal to me.” Ella has a 2.99 grade point average.

2012 Recipients

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.

Kendall Paterson

“Kendall Paterson plans to teach Italian in the future,” reports Professor Rosetta D’Angelo. Kendall is an Italian minor with a 3.36 grade point average. She is a sophomore from Lafayette, NJ.

Carolina Felix

Carolina Felix is in her senior year majoring in International Studies. Carolina is pursuing two minors, in Italian and Anthropology. She will be studying abroad in Italy this summer. Carolina has earned a 3.70 grade point average.

2010 Recipients

Taylor Strickland

Taylor Strickland is a graduate of Monmouth Regional High School and attended Centenary College before enrolling at Ramapo. Taylor is a History major who is also pursuing a minor in Italian. She has earned a 2.85 grade point average. Taylor is fromTinton Falls, NJ.

Jenna Sages

Jenna Sages of Belvidere, NJ is a junior. She is majoring in Literature and will pursue certification in elementary teacher education. Jenna is interested in learning the Italian language because her family is Italian. “I am eager to learn as much of the language as possible before going to Italy this summer,” she says. Jenna has a 3.50 grade point average.

Ashley Barba

Ashley Barba of Pompton Plains, NJ is a sophomore majoring in History. She grew up surrounded by Italian culture and an Italianspeaking family, but never learned the language or visited the country. She just began learning Italian this year and says, “I am thrilled to get the chance to visit Italy for the first time!” Ashley has a 2.63 grade point average.

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