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Simon, Dr. Ernest Book Award

Dr. Ernest Simon was a professor of Literature at Ramapo from 1973 until his retirement in 1998. A group of his former students established this fund a number of years ago to honor their teacher and benefit Ramapo seniors in the Literature major. Dr. Simon appreciated the gesture and he and his wife Christiana contributed to the fund. Mrs. Simon further enhanced the fund after Dr. Simon’s death in 2003.

“One of the things I most enjoyed about Ernie Simon was that he never tired of sharing what he knew,” says his friend and colleague, Professor Ira Spar. “He approached our discussions, his teaching, and his students with the same energy that he gave to all that he did, and I count him among the best teachers Ramapo has ever had.”

This faculty-nominated award recognizes an outstanding Literature major who shows a “commitment to reading and research.”

  • For books for Literature students
  • Recipient selected Dean and faculty of the School of Humanities and Global Studies (HGS)

2022 Recipient

Emily Brackenbury

“I am a proud first-generation college student,” says Emily Brackenbury. A resident of Oakland, N.J., Emily is a Literature major with a Spanish Language minor. She is also pursuing her Teacher Education certification.

She has a 3.98 GPA and is a member of various honor societies, including Sigma Tau Delta, Rho Alpha Sigma, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

At Ramapo, Emily has been active in several organizations and activities, including being a member of Residence Life, a consultant at the Center for Reading and Writing, and the Honors Program.

2021 Recipient

Jared Berberabe

Jared Berberabe is a Literature Major with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Spanish. He has a 3.9 GPA and has made the Dean’s List several times. The Ringoes, N.J. resident is also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta Literature Honors Society.

Jared is the President of Literature Club and a Writing Consultant at the Center for Reading and Writing. He has been published in Ramapo’s Trillium Literary Magazine twice and has also been published in 34thParallel Magazine and AbstractMagazineTV. 

During the summer, Jared interned at MJH Life Sciences  in the editorial department and publishing articles for Drug Topics and dvm360. He intends to continue writing short stories and poems, as well as moving onto novel-length works for future publication. 

2020 Recipient

Charlie Leppert

Charlie Leppert of River Vale, N.J. is a Literature major with a concentration in Creative Writing. Before coming to Ramapo, he received his Associates Degree with Honors from Bergen Community College.At Ramapo, Charlie works at the Jane Addams Papers Project and remains active in the Creative Writing Program community.

Outside of school, Charlie helped develop an online resource for LGBT+ individuals living in Bergen County, and he currently works as a Library Assistant at the Rochelle Park Public Library.

2019 Recipient

Matthew Sisti

“I cannot express how thankful I am for this act of generosity and hope that in the future I can donate to scholarships such as this to help students achieve their goals,” says Literature major Matthew Sisti of Hillsborough, N.J. He has a 3.4 GPA and is a member of Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

At Ramapo, Matthew has been active in several on-campus activities sponsored by Alpha Psi Omega and helps to coordinate the monthly Cafe Adler where students come to perform their original works of literature and music in a creative, congenial setting. Matthew has been involved in theater and choir throughout his school years and has had the opportunity to produce, cast, and perform in his own works.

Matthew has also been involved in the youth reading programs at the Hillsborough Public Library for many years. He hopes to pursue a Masters in Library Science after graduating.

2018 Recipient

Alexandra Davies

Alexandra Davies of Wayne, N.J. is a Literature major with a concentration in Creative Writing. She has a 3.63 GPA. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Literature Honor Society.  “I am passionate about writing and enjoy studying literature and theory.”

Alexandra is an active member of the Literature Club and works as an editor and research assistant for the Jane Addams Papers Project. In addition, Alexandra is co-editor of the student published poetry magazine, Sprezzatura. She also participated in the Fall 2017 Student Reading where she shared her poetry.

Off-campus, she held an internship as an editorial assistant at Rodman Media. After graduation, Alexandra hopes to continue writing poetry and further her literature studies by attending graduate school.


2017 Recipient

Jessica Bowman

Jessica Bowman of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ is a Literature major with a Creative Writing concentration. She has a 3.983 GPA.  She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Literature Honor Society on campus and was a 2014 recipient of the Friends of Ramapo Scholarship. Jessica is passionate about writing and is proud to have won the Critical Reading and Writing Essay contest during her freshman year.

At Ramapo, Jessica is active in several organizations and activities, including Relay for Life, the college’s Center for Reading and Writing, and the Literature Club.  As an Event Chair for Relay for Life since her sophomore year, Jessica is proud to have worked with her colleagues to plan the event for over 500 people and raise over $50,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2016. At the Center for Reading and Writing, Jessica enjoys helping students hone their reading and writing skills. In addition, Jessica attends Literature club meetings, where she develops her poetry and fiction writing abilities outside the classroom.

Jessica has also been involved in volunteering with the American Cancer Society at events such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Further, Jessica held an internship at Penguin Random House’s Knopf Doubleday Imprint. She hopes to pursue further publishing internships, especially those focused on the publication of children’s books. Post-graduation, Jessica plans to attend graduate school and strives to have a career in the publishing industry.

2016 Recipient

Ann Lau

Ann Lau of Denville, NJ is a Literature major with a concentration in Creative Writing. She has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the Literature Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.

At Ramapo, Ann is a consultant at the Center for Reading and Writing and serves as Vice-President of the Literature Club.

2015 Recipient

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


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

Kim Eskin

“Kim Eskin worked as a Literature professor’s research assistant,” says Dean Hassan Nejad. “She gathered a large number of secondary sources on the history of theatre as a feminized art form, and annotated them. She then wrote summaries for each of the articles, most of which analyzed understandings of theatre beyond the contemporary West, and her work was impressive.” Kim is a senior majoring in Literature with a concentration in Teacher Certification in English. To date Kim has earned a 3.97 grade point average. She plans to continue her education with a master’s degree. Kim is from Bergenfield, NJ.

The Simon Book Award will help me pursue my goals in graduate school.

2012 Recipient

Robert Texel

Robert Texel of Sussex, NJ is a Literature major who will pursue certification in Secondary Education. The writing sample he submitted for the scholarship was a poignant discourse on having to attend his grandmother’s funeral viewing on his twentieth birthday. Robert acutely noted, “I actually felt bad to have been born on her day. A person celebrates their birthday every year, but their entire lives are only celebrated for about a week after they die.” Robert demonstrates a dedication to the craft of writing and enjoys the process. He notes that unlike other writers, his goal is not to get published, though he wouldn’t mind that. It’s to write. Robert has a 3.73 grade point average.

2011 Recipients

Brian May

Brian May is a talented and engaged student,” says Literature Professor Edward Shannon. “His writing is of superior quality and integrates literary theory at a high level. He is capable of engaging texts at an intellectual level rarely seen in undergraduates, as is evident both in his writing and his contributions to discussion. Further, his enthusiasm and sense of fun is contagious and a valuable ingredient to classroom discussion.” Brian is a Literature major also pursuing teacher certification in English and has a 3.86 grade point average. He is from Mahwah, NJ.

Caroline Church

Caroline Church of Park Ridge, NJ is a Literature major who is pursuing teacher certification in Elementary Education. “I have always viewed education through the eyes of an archaeologist despite the fact that I am a Literature major,” she says. “My education has always been about discovery, about excavating the world, fossil by fossil, to piece together a skeleton of understanding, an understanding of the world, its people and its cultures. Literature has provided tools with which to dig.” Caroline, who has a 3.85 grade point average, devotes time to working with children and to philanthropic causes. She has worked as a camp counselor, a tennis camp instructor, a math tutor and a babysitter. In addition, she has participated in walks to raise awareness for people with multiple sclerosis,Alzheimer’s and those who are hungry.

2010 Recipients

Gretchen Kaser

Gretchen Kaser is a senior Literature major concentrating in Creative Writing. She is also pursuing a minor in Political Science and has earned a 3.82 grade point average. “Gretchen is an enormously talented student whose insights into the subject and ease with which she puts her ideas to paper make her an equally talented writer,” says Literature Professor Patricia Ard. “She is a stealth scholar,” continues Dr. Ard, “Her writing is powerful, sophisticated and accomplished.” Gretchen is president of the Literature Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta and is a tutor. Gretchen is from Hillsdale, NJ.

The Ernest Simon Award will prepare me for my future by making my studies at Ramapo more financially feasible. It is a huge honor, and I am thankful to have received it.

Sam Corman

“Sam Corman has demonstrated the kind of intellectual curiosity, dedication to rigor and sense of educational possession that we hope all students seek,” says Literature Professor Patricia Ard. “Sam exceeds expectations and challenges himself to excel both analytically and creatively,” she continues, “He is a refreshing presence, unapologetic about his intellectualism and at the same time he preserves a sense of respect and easy collaboration with his peers.” Sam is a senior majoring in Literature who has earned a 3.82 grade point average. He is from Jackson, NJ.

This scholarship has made it possible for me to attend an excellent liberal arts college to receive a degree in Literature, which will enable me to pursue even higher levels of education.

2009 Recipients

Melissa Adamo

“Melissa Adamo is one of the most hard- working students I’ve met in 20 years of teaching,” says professor Ed Shannon. “She cares about literature, and is curious, insightful, and reads deep into and around the literature.” Melissa is a junior majoring in literature and is also taking courses toward teacher certification in English. She has earned a 3.70 grade point average. Melissa is from Middletown, New Jersey.

I received the Ernest Simon award, which is for a literature student. I am very proud to be recognized within my major. My time at Ramapo has really helped me grow as a lit student and a person. I am grateful for this generosity bestowed upon me.

Kimberly Rath

Kimberly Rath is from Augusta, New Jersey. She is a junior majoring in literature with a minor in Spanish. Kim is also taking courses toward teacher certification in English, and has earned a 3.92 grade point average. The literature faculty commends “her dedication to her studies and class performance” as well as her “insightfulness and the freshness she brings to oft-read texts.”

This scholarship will aid my studies in literature and education. I am honored to be the recipient of this award. I have truly enjoyed my time here at Ramapo, and look forward to the future. I thank my benefactor for this honor and appreciate all that they have helped me to accomplish.

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