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Hackett, Frances K. ’80 HGS Scholarship

The Hackett HGS Scholarship was started by Frances K. Hackett, who graduated from Ramapo in 1980 with degrees in Business Administration and American Studies. Ms. Hackett began working at Prudential in 1974 and  had a distinguished career at the company where she  served as vice president of Administration and OSGLI.

Ms. Hackett was a dedicated volunteer and supporter of Ramapo College and was honored with the President’s Award of Merit in 2007. She was chair of the Ramapo College Foundation Board of Governors, and was involved with a number of Foundation Board committees, including the Executive Committee, the Distinguished Citizens Dinner Committee and the Annual Golf Outing Committee.

The Hackett SHGS Scholarship honors Ms. Hackett’s experience as a graduate of the School of American and International Studies, the former name of the School when she attended, and recognizes outstanding students in the School.

  • Recipient selected by the dean based on the recommendation of the HGS conveners

2022 Recipient

Giovanna Sokasian

Originally born in NYC, Giovanna Sokasian spent most of her life in Florence, Italy. She embarked on a successful career specializing in wholesale buying of merchandise for esteemed jewelry stores on Florence’s most famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio. She also liaised with tour operators from around the world as they coordinated their business with a high end boutique in Santa Croce Square. 

After moving to the United States, Giovanna settled in Franklin Lakes, N.J. and earned an associates degree from Bergen Community College in 2019. Now at Ramapo, she is an International Business major with an Anthropology minor. 

Giovanna has been active in the Italian Club and often tutors others in Italian. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society. Her 4.0 GPA places her on the Dean’s List.

After graduating, she plans to pursue a masters in international studies and apply her skills towards a career at a nonprofit organization focused on international diplomacy.


2019 Recipient

Francesca Evans

Francesca Evans believes in the importance of preserving our nation’s history for generations to come and, because of this passion, plans to pursue a career in historic preservation and continue her education through a master’s program in that same field.

Francesca is from Midland Park, N.J., and is a double major in American Studies and Political Science. She has a 3.96 GPA and is the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and the 2018 Ramapo College Book Prize for Academic Excellence.

At Ramapo, Francesca has been active in several organizations and activities, including Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society, for which she is treasurer. Francesca is also a member of the HGS Dean’s Student Advisory Council, acting as a representative of the school, discussing any problems or concerns that are brought to the council’s attention and helping to plan and run various school events. As the American Studies student ambassador, Francesca also speaks with prospective students and their parents at open houses and other admissions events.

Francesca works on campus as a research assistant and has participated in many internships, including ones at Gigantic Pictures in New York City, at the Upper Saddle River Historical Society, the Mahwah Museum and is the current intern for the New Jersey Historic Trust, responsible for creating and posting social media content to their Journey through Jersey pages.



2018 Recipient

Jeffrey Hoffmann

Jeffrey Hoffmann of Franklin Lakes, N.J. is a junior Literature major. He has a 4.0 GPA and has been included on the Dean’s List for each of his five semesters. “Earning a 4.0 and being on the Dean’s List are among my proudest achievements at Ramapo thus far.”

Beyond Ramapo’s classrooms, Jeffrey remains active in his study of literature. When attending the Readings at Ramapo events on campus, he is eager to learn from both professional authors and his fellow peers. In his upcoming semesters, Jeffrey is looking forward to further exploring the extra-curricular literary opportunities Ramapo provides.

Jeffrey has a part-time job at the Ramsey Public Library. “I’m very passionate about both curation and literature, and hope to continue building a career that utilizes both of these passions.” In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family.



2017 Recipient

Alisha Grant

Alisha Grant of Newark, NJ is an American Studies major with a Gerontology and Africana studies double minor. She has a 3.413 GPA and has been on the Dean’s list for the past four years.

Alisha has been active in several organizations, including the Educational Opportunity Fund.  She is the 2016-2017 HGS Student Ambassador for Africana Studies and American Studies and has also been nominated to participate in Scholar’s Day at Ramapo in 2017.

For the past three summers, she has volunteered at the Newark Public Library, which has led to part-time employment as an Archival Assistant in the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center.

“I hope to go to graduate school to further my education and become a professor of African American Studies,” said Alisha.



2015 Recipient

Paola Bermedo-Sturla

Paola Bermedo-Sturla of Hackettstown, N.J. is a Spanish language/ international studies double major.

She has a 3.87 grade point average.

Paola was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society, Sigma Delta Pi and Sigma Iota Rho.

Throughout college Paola has been a full time student while continuing to work full time.



2014 Recipient

John Sapida

John Sapida of Maywood, NJ carries two majors, International Studies and Political Science. He was inducted into the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and serves as the fraternity’s new interest member educator. John serves as president of Sigma Iota Rho Honors Society for International Studies and treasurer and secretary of Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society for Political Science. He also is president of the Human Rights Society. He works on campus as a resident assistant of Laurel Hall and a student assistant in the Cahill Career Development Center. He enjoys serving as a student ambassador for the School of Humanities and Global Studies. John also enjoys performing in community theater. John plans to enroll in a graduate program for Human Rights or International Relations/International Law. He has a 3.97 grade point average.



2013 Recipients

Ruthann Inserra

Ruthann Inserra is a History major with a 3.99 grade point average. In addition to her coursework, Ruthann has been active in the history program through the American History Textbook Project, an ongoing and student-faculty initiative to collect American history textbooks dating back to the early 19th century and place them in a special collection in the Potter Library. Ruthann was selected in the spring 2012 semester to serve as the student intern for the project, where she worked with Professors Stephen Rice and Alex Urbiel to identify books to be added to the collection, acquire the books, gather appropriate cataloging information, and pass the books on to the library to be placed in the collection. “Ruthann is an outstanding student and a dedicated member of the program,” says Professor Rice. Ruthann is a senior from Bogota, NJ.

Ashley Wood

Ashley Wood is a double major in International Studies and History, focusing on East Asia and the post WWII era. On campus, she is involved in Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity, and Global Roadrunners, a study abroad club aimed at increasing study abroad enrollment and global awareness. Ashley is a member of several honor societies including Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Beta Delta, Sigma Iota Rho, and Phi Alpha Theta. Her current grade point average is 3.92 and she will be graduating in May, 2013. After graduation she plans to teach English in Korea for one year, followed by graduate school in International Education or Asian History. Ashley is from Washington Township, NJ.

As a graduating senior, there are many fees I did not expect. This scholarship allowed me to pay these fees without having to use any money I have saved for my future, which includes traveling to South Korea to teach English.


2012 Recipient

Melissa Pepe

Melissa Pepe of Montville, NJ is a History Major. Professor Carter Meyer, convener of the major, says Melissa “is not only an outstanding student, but also a major contributor to the success of other students through her work as the student coordinator of the History Tutoring Fellows. She has worked tirelessly to develop documentation workshops for students enrolled in History courses, all of which have been well attended and successful. She has also worked long hours as an individual tutor, helping large numbers of students master the research, writing and study skills needed to succeed in History courses. She has been a stalwart contributor to HGS recruiting events.” Melissa, an enthusiastic student, maintains a 3.79 grade point average.

I am so thankful for this award. It is such an honor to be recognized as the recipient of this scholarship.Thank you!


2011 Recipient

Catherine Agacinski

Catherine Agacinski is a junior majoring in International Studies. She is pursuing a double minor in Latin-American Studies and Spanish Language Studies. Catherine has studied abroad in Argentina and has done volunteer work in Peru. After graduating from Ramapo her goal is to attend law school. Catherine plans to work for human rights organizations defending the rights of women and children. She has earned a 4.00 grade point average.

This scholarship will allow me the opportunity to focus on the aspects of my education that will help me better prepare for a job in the international market.


2010 Recipient

Sarah Hildebrand

“Sarah Hildebrand is a student with rare gifts including a facility with language,” reports Literature Professor Patricia Ard. Sarah is a senior majoring in Spanish Language Studies. She is also pursuing a minor in Latino/a and Latin American Studies and a certificate in Business Essentials. She has earned a 4.00 grade point average. “Her great powers of insight into literary texts stem from an expansive curiosity that has led her to study a variety of literary genres and periods,” says Professor Ard. Sarah is from Wantage, NJ.



2009 Recipient

Rebecca Prince

“Rebecca Prince is a talented and conscientious writer and researcher, who is active in her major, school, and college,” says a member of the HGS faculty. Rebecca is a political science major with a public policy minor, and has earned a 4.00 grade point average. She is a senior from Oak Ridge, New Jersey.

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