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The Franklin Lakes Lions Club is part of an international organization whose mission is to provide volunteers for the improvement of the community. Since 1927 the Lions Club has had a particular focus on restoring sight and preventing blindness. Recently, the members of the Franklin Lakes Lions Club voted to distribute funds to Ramapo College students for scholarships, in particular for students with a vision impairment.
The recipient of the Franklin Lakes Lions Club award is selected by staff in the Office of Specialized Services.
- For students with a vision impairment
- Recipient selected by the Office of Specialized Services
The recipient of this scholarship wishes to remain anonymous.
Serene Rahman of Randolph, N.J. is a Psychology major and a Literature minor. She has a 3.9 GPA, and has been in the Honors Program and on the Dean’s List since her first semester at Ramapo.
Serene has been active in the honors program, as well as Global Roadrunners. She helps organize events promoting international education, gives presentations to class, and helps incoming honors freshmen adjust to college life by promoting wellness and skills like time management. “I’m deeply enjoying college thus far, and love to see how different disciplines come together and offer an enriched understanding of the world.” She plans to pursue graduate studies after earning her degree at Ramapo.
“My experiences working closely with individuals with all types of disabilities have led me down a path where I’m eager to help others fulfill their hopes and dreams and give them the opportunities they deserve,” says Rachel Azulay of Livingston, N.J. Rachel is a Social Work major with a 3.9 GPA and is on the Dean’s List for her academic achievement. She strives to advocate for others with disabilities and prides herself on keeping up with the latest technological advances used to help those with vision loss.
At Ramapo, Rachel is an active participant of the College Planning Board. She enjoys meeting others, volunteering her time, and reading.
She’s involved with the Vision Loss Alliance, which assists adults who have lost their vision relearn life skills. Additionally, she is a member of Operation Smile, which raises money for children with cleft palates so that they can have proper surgeries. Both organizations are volunteer-based and work toward helping people as they obtain medical necessities to ensure a happier life. She plans to go to graduate school for Social Work.
Nicholas A. Russo of Bridgewater, New Jersey is a Senior majoring in Information Technology Management. He
has a 3.5 GPA.
At Ramapo, Nicholas has been active in several organizations, including the National Honor Society of Collegiate
Scholars. He also works in the Assistive Technology Lab with fellow students who have disabilities. Nicholas has
also been involved in off-campus activities, including a variety of public speaking engagements. He advocates on
behalf of students who have disabilities. He also shares his experiences as a student who has a disability and teaches
students valuable skills which will help them be successful in their collegiate and professional careers.
After graduating in December, Nicholas plans to pursue a career in IT/Business Analytics in the short term and
possibly Assistive Technology in the long term.
Svetlana Marhefka is a senior from Westfield N.J. majoring in Computer Science. She transferred to Ramapo in the Spring of 2016.
Svetlana is the treasurer of the club //hack Ramapo which she helped to found. //hack Ramapo is a club that engages and unites students of any major to hone their computer programming skills.
Svetlana will be interning in the Technology Department of Prudential Financial.
Tiffany Huang of Emerson, NJ is a Psychology major. She has a 3.6 GPA. She serves as a mentor for other disabled individuals in Bergen County, and most recently has been leading art therapy sessions for high functioning adults. For her remaining years at Ramapo, she hopes to take as many Psychology classes as her schedule will allow, and obtain an internship to fulfill her fieldwork requirement. Longer term, she hopes to work in public higher education to conduct research.
"Most see disability as a setback, yet I call it a strength, namely my strength. A decade, two forced transfers...and five repeated grades later, I am stronger physically, mentally and emotionally."
Marianne Brennan of Dumont, NJ is a Literature major with a minor in psychology. She has a 3.6 grade point average. Marianne is a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Chi Alpha Epsilon.
In her junior year, she was a part of the editorial staff for Ramapo’s literary magazine Trillium. This past summer, Marianne interned at the Worth Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ. She plans to earn her masters in Library Science, and become a librarian. Marianne has a passion for reading and writing.
Jeremy Capati is in his third year at Ramapo College and has earned a 3.03 grade point average. Jeremy is majoring in both Business Administration/ Management and Law and Society. His minor is Political Science. He worked this past summer as a counselor at Camp Marcella, a camp for visually impaired and disabled children in Rockaway, NJ. He has participated in Rutgers’ PLUS program, a four week law school experience that includes research, group work, a moot court and a defense at the end of the program. Kevin is a goalball player with the New Jersey Association of Blind Athletes and is a member of the NJ Association for Blind Students (part of the National Federation of the Blind). He is from Kenilworth, NJ.
Tanesha Caswell is from Jersey City, NJ and graduated from Hudson County Schools of Technology. She is a sophomore at Ramapo, majoring in Mathematics.
“This award has changed my life, and allowed me to pursue my dreams,” said Susan Vanino who graduated with a degree in Social Work in 2013. “While it was challenging to return to college as a non-traditional student, as a person with a significant disability, I was motivated during my undergraduate studies by my goal to eventually earn a MSW. Last spring, as graduationneared, my plans for graduate school became overshadowed by looming worries of mounting student debt. Being selected for this award not only provided financial support towards graduate studies, it gave me the confidence to move forward,” she said. Susan began the Advanced Standing Program at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work last fall and will graduate in May. She is completing a year-long internship at Comprehensive Behavioral Health Care in Hackensack. She plans to work in an agency setting, where I can assist people with disabilities in realizing their full potential. “I will be forever grateful to Carol Schaefer for making the Carol Schaefer Human Services/Shepherd Foundation Award possible, and to those at Ramapo College who encouraged me to apply for this remarkable award,” Susan said.
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