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Friends of Ramapo Scholarship for the Arts

Friends Board 2023

In 2012 the Friends of Ramapo decided to use proceeds from fundraising events over the past few years to establish an endowed fund to permanently benefit the Ramapo College community. To honor the Friends’ strong interest and support of cultural events on campus, the purpose of this award is to benefit students in the School of Contemporary Arts.

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2024 Recipients

McKenzie Janisz

McKenzie Janisz of Little Egg Harbor, N.J. is a Music major with a concentration in Music Industry and a minor in Philosophy. She has a 3.98 GPA. 

She focused her capstone project on music data analysis by utilizing artists’ streaming and social media data to identify problem areas in their career and create data-driven solutions. McKenzie has also been active in the Ramapo College Dance Company since her junior year and choreographed with sophomore Sarah Rager the club’s hip-hop dance for their Spring recital. 

After graduation, McKenzie will be starting a full-time position as a Content Protection Representative at Universal Music Group, using her education to support artist growth and advocate for artist rights in the ever-changing climate of the music industry. 

MaryGrace Iorio

MaryGrace Iorio of Brielle, a Theatre major with a concentration in Acting. She is also a part of the Teacher Education program and has a 3.8 GPA. 

At Ramapo, MaryGrace has been active in the Newman Catholic Club (2023-2024 President) and the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society. MaryGrace is also involved with the Theater productions on campus, her most recent role was Antonio in “The Duchess of Malfi.”

Off Campus, MaryGrace likes to audition for productions at her local community theaters in her area, including Spring Lake Community Theatre and Algonquin Arts Theatre. Over the summer, she serves as a Director for the OGCMA Youth Dramatics Program.

After graduation, MaryGrace hopes to one day be a Theater teacher and share her love of the theater with others.

Mia Schutz

Mia Schutz of Metuchen N.J. is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Electronic Arts and Animation. She has a 3.981 GPA and is in the Honors Programs at Ramapo.

At Ramapo, Mia has been active in several clubs like the Animation Production Club and Dumbledore’s Army. Mia has worked with multiple professors as Production Assistants or to illustrate art for books and posters.

Her animations have been selected to be shown in multiple film festivals like the Dirty Popcorn Black Film Festival, where she won an award and was brought on stage to be interviewed. She works frequently at her parents’ ice cream shop in her hometown and also used her artistic skills to design logos and an ice cream truck.

Her goal post-graduation is to one day work at a big animation studio like Pixar and direct her own movie or animated TV show.

2023 Recipients

Megan Woods

“I am grateful for the opportunities the Friends of Ramapo provide to students, and their encouragement of students pursuing their goals,” says Megan Woods of Haddon Township, N.J.

Megan is a double major in English and Visual Arts with a minor in graphic communications. She has a 4.0 GPA. She has been on the Dean’s list every semester she has attended Ramapo, and is a member of the Transfer Student Honor Society, the English Honor Society, and the Theatre Honor Society.

At Ramapo, Megan has served as the Vice President for both the Visual Arts Society and the Ramapo English Club. She has also participated in the auditioned choir group, Canta Nova. Megan has also been involved in off campus organizations, including the non-profit group Arts by the People as a graphic designer and as a volunteer councilor at Camp Inawendiwin.

“I am especially proud of the thesis projects I have completed, as well as the ones I will be working on this upcoming semester. My goals post-graduation include becoming an author and illustrator for children’s books, as well as lending my graphic design skills to volunteer programs whenever possible.”

Keila Haskins

Keila Haskins of Teaneck, N.J. is a Theatre Major with a double concentration in Acting and Design/Technical Theatre. She has a 3.8 GPA.

Since transferring to Ramapo, Keila has been heavily involved in the Ramapo College Theatre Department’s main stage productions, in both performing and production roles. Under the instruction of the esteemed theatre faculty, she’s grown tremendously as a performer and has become a well-rounded theatre artist. Additionally, she is involved in Alpha Psi Omega, Ramapo’s theatre honor society, and has been inducted into Tau Sigma, the academic honor society for transfer students.

She is thankful for all of the opportunities Ramapo has offered. Keila hopes to take all that she has learned and channel it into her final semester; being a student master electrician for Rhinoceros and in her role as Duchess in the spring production of The Duchess of Malfi.

Post-graduation, she hopes to dive right into full-time auditioning and theatre production building in the NY/NJ area. Most importantly, she wants to continue portraying complex characters and telling these important stories to uplift her community and share the magic that she experiences every single day.

Emily Chludzinski

Emily Chludzinski of Boonton, N.J. is a Music major with a Music Industry concentration. She has a 3.76 GPA, and has received the Faculty Research award in 2022.

At Ramapo, Emily was the social media coordinator for the Music Program during her Junior year. This consisted of creating graphics, posting on Instagram and Facebook, and creating an effective posting schedule. During her free time, Emily loves to go to concerts and network with people that have the same passions.

Emily plans on going to graduate school for digital marketing after completing her degree at Ramapo.

2022 Recipients

Fiona Misiura

Fiona Misiura of Hightstown, N.J. is a Theater and History major with a concentration in Directing/Stage Management.

At Ramapo, Fiona is a captain and record holder of Ramapo’s Women’s Swim Team and an active member of the Theater department. She has  stage managed several main stage productions, most recently the fall production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She also works on campus at the Jane Addams Papers Project. 

After graduation, Fiona hopes to go to grad school for an MFA in Stage Management.

Khalisah Hameed

Khalisah Hameed of Roselle, N.J. is a Music Production student minoring in Creative Writing. She has a 3.92 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List every semester. She is also a member of the Honors Program and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Khalisah is President of the Muslim Student Association and President of a chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Through the Women’s Center, she serves as the Women’s Outreach Coordinator and Co-coordinator for the Women of Color Collective.

2021 Recipients

Jenna Craig

Jenna Craig, a resident of River Edge, N.J., is double majoring in Theater and Communication Arts. With concentrations in Acting, Directing/Stage Management, and Journalism, Jenna is passionate about the theater industry, writing, and organizing information in creative ways. 

Jenna is highly involved in Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society, where she serves as President and previously served as both Vice President and Secretary. She is also a member of Active Minds, the College Progressives Club, and is a copy editor/writer for the Ramapo News. She regularly participates in the Theater Department’s productions, runs the RCNJ Theater social media accounts, and is a Student Aide for the Grants & Sponsored Programs office.

This spring, Jenna started an internship with Off The Lane, a nonprofit geared towards mentoring early career theater artists. Apart from career options in live theater, arts administration, and arts publications, she is interested in potentially pursuing academic counseling for higher education. 

Sela Stazzone

Sela Stazzone of Phillipsburg, N.J. is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Electronic Art and Animation. She has a 3.8 GPA and is on the Dean’s List. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master’s in Animation/Digital Arts.  

Sela is the Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She is also a Global Roadrunner and Secretary/Publicist for the Animation Club.

Since her involvement as a student in high school, Sela returns to her alma mater to volunteer for the Annual Phillipsburg High School Comic Convention. “I enjoy promoting literacy through graphic novels and supporting local artists and writers in the comic industry,” she says. 

2020 Recipients

Gwen Manley-Muller

Gwen Manley-Muller of Andover, N.J. is double majoring in Communication Arts and Music with concentrations in Journalism and Music Studies, respectively. She has a 3.8 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List every semester of her academic career.

Outside of class, Gwen is a member of the Ramapo Music Club and is the singer, rhythm guitarist, and principal songwriter of the band Always a Sculptor, who has released an EP and single on Bandcamp thus far. She has worked as a research assistant for Professor Marc Gidal and as a notetaker for OSS services. She is also a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Stanhope, N.J.

Gwen plans to continue her academic career with post-graduate studies in the field of ethnomusicology.

Amanda Steuernagel

Amanda Steuernagel of Rahway, N.J. is a Global Communications and Theater Studies double major with a minor in Art History. “I am a firm believer in using any art form as a platform for communication,” says Amanda. “I’m interested in dramaturgy and art history because they provide historical context and accuracy to generate new, progressive ideas.”

Amanda has worked in both the CA School Office and the Office of Violence Prevention, and she has acted, directed, and worked as a dramaturg for several Ramapo productions. She’s also the secretary of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and a member of the Communications and Theater, National Honor Societies.

She recently spent the summer in Amherst, MA as Assistant Company Manager and Dramaturg at Ko Theater Festival. Amanda hopes to become an Artistic Director who chooses what plays, exhibits, and shows are to be produced in a company based on political relevance or movements in modern time.

Joseph Perez

Joseph Perez of Annandale, N.J. is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Electronic Art and Animation, and a minor in Digital Filmmaking. He has a 3.79 GPA. Joseph previously served as the publicist for RCTV and the treasurer for the Animation Production Club, where he now serves as President.

Joseph works as an Art & Engineering tutor, where he helps teach students the principles of animation software. He has also worked under Professor Gorewitz since to illustrate a novel titled The Legend of Nana Yaa.  He presented his work on the novel at SUNY Geneseo in New York and later traveled to Ghana to present at KNUST in Kumasi. In addition, Joseph is a freelance animator, through which he has worked as the Lead Animator on a documentary titled The #1 Bus Chronicles, and he directed a music video that was selected for a film festival in Brazil.

Post-graduation, Joseph plans to work as a character animator for feature films or television.

2019 Recipients

Melanie Schlosser

Melanie Schlosser of Park Ridge, N.J. double majors in Visual Arts with a concentration in Law & Society and Visual Arts with a concentration in Drawing and Painting. She has a 3.95 GPA, placing her on the Dean’s List every semester of attendance.

On campus, she is a member of the Visual Artists Society and has served on executive boards for various clubs and organizations. Outside of school she has held a range of internships, including in fields of design, law, and sustainability.

Recently, Melanie has attended a human rights conference in South Dakota to present her Law & Society thesis paper titled “Our Roles in Environmental Responsibility.” She is currently working on a thesis project for Drawing and Painting featuring a similar theme of environmental issues, and also works as a legal assistant in an environmental law office. After graduating, Melanie plans to attend law school.

Danielle Zanoni

“Music has and always will be a passion of mine, and I will always find ways to incorporate it into my life,” says Danielle Zanoni.  Danielle is a senior Music major with a double concentration in Industry and Performance. She has a 3.7 GPA and has achieved Dean’s List status.

Danielle is an Indie Pop Singer/Songwriter who has released five of her original singles and is constantly in the process of creating new music. Currently, she is interning with Fearless Records in NYC in the Digital Marketing Department.

At Ramapo, Danielle is Vice President of Ramapo Chorale, Sister of Delta Phi Epsilon, and Social Media Coordinator for the Music Program.  Finding great joy in giving back to the community, Danielle has participated in numerous fundraising events, such as Relay for Life and music charity/benefit concerts.

Her plan post-graduation is to work in digital marketing and social media, while still continuing to write, record, and perform her own music. “I’m excited to see what the future will bring.”

Danielle is from Oak Ridge, N.J.

Amanda Steuernagel

Amanda Steuernagel hopes to one day become an Artistic Director and produce plays, exhibits, and shows that are politically relevant. The Global Communications and Theater Studies double major has a minor in Art History. Amanda has a 3.9 GPA and is a member of Communications, Theater, and National Honor Societies.

She has worked in both the CA School Office and the Office of Violence Prevention on campus, and has been involved in acting/directing/dramaturging various Ramapo productions. She recently interned at Ko Theater Festival in Amherst, Massachusetts to run their summer festival.

“I am a firm believer in using any art form as a platform for communication. I’m interested in dramaturgy and art history because they provide historical context and accuracy to generate new ideas that are progressive.”

Amanda is from Rahway, N.J.

2018 Recipients

Jennifer O’Hagan

Jennifer O’Hagan of Wyckoff, N.J. is a Music Industry and Music Production major. She has a 3.98 GPA and is a member of the Honors Program.

At Ramapo, Jennifer has been an active performer in the music department with the band she formed her freshman year on campus, Third Floor. The band played many shows on campus and earned an opening act in the Berrie Center. She was also a featured composer when the award-winning Aeolus String Quartet came to campus.

Jennifer has also been involved in off-campus activities such as working as an event assistant for LAUNCH Music Conference and Festival in 2017. While studying abroad, she interned with Whiise, a music industry start-up based in London, UK. She recently accepted a position as part-time employee with Whiise as she works toward finishing her degree this year. “I’m excited to graduate so I can dedicate all of my time to pursue a career in the music industry.”

Paul Robert Bulilan

Paul Robert Bulilan began his education after serving in the United States Navy for eight years as an Aviation Electronics Technician. During his travels, he began to record his experience within the NAVY through photography. He is majoring in Photography with a Business Essentials Certificate.

Paul works as a photography lab aid and Gallery Monitor at the Berrie Center, and has organized a Cosplay event on campus. He works off-campus at a camera retailer.

“After I graduate, I look forward to traveling again with the goal of documenting humanity, and raise awareness about those who are less fortunate.” He also hopes to create a community that will allow artists to exhibit their work within Bergen County.

He is from Bergenfield, N.J. and has a 3.3 GPA.

Alex Luckenbaugh

Alex Luckenbaugh of Hillsborough, N.J. is a Theater major with an acting concentration, as well as a Music major with a performance concentration. He has taken a variety of theater and music classes, and also takes voice lessons on campus. He has a 3.651 GPA.

He has performed in seven theatrical productions at Ramapo, and is co-captain of the Fooligans Improv troupe. He is also heavily involved with Alpha Psi Omega, the on-campus theater honor society. Alex recently worked off-campus as a performer at Field Station Dinosaurs, where he helped entertain and educate visitors.

“Following graduation, whether it’s opera, Shakespeare, comedy or drama, I intend to search for a stage that I can call my own.”

2017 Recipients

Kelsey Brentnall

Kelsey Brentnall of Hillsdale, NJ is a biology and art major. She has a 3.96 GPA.  She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key National Honor Societies and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Kelsey is a Peer Facilitator on campus and member of the Ramapo College Honors Program Executive Board.  As part of her work with the Executive Board, she has planned events such as Lunch with a Professor.  “Lunch with a Professor is my favorite event because it allows students to connect with teachers outside of the classroom and talk about anything from sports to books,” said Kelsey.

Off campus, Kelsey teaches oil painting to young adults at the Ridgewood Art Institute. She also studied abroad during a summer semester in Rome, Italy.

“After graduation, I hope to continue empowering and helping others by teaching high school students,” said Kelsey.

Lydia Oquendo

Lydia Oquendo has worked on every main stage production at Ramapo, including as a stage manager for All New People, Top Girls, Iphigenia and Other Daughters and the upcoming Mr. Burns. The Theatre major, with concentrations in Directing/Stage Management and Design/Technical Theater, has a 3.2 GPA.

In addition to her stage work, Lydia has been active in other activities, including working as a Super Student Aide in the scene shop as well as on various events. She has also been the Production Manager for Alpha Psi Omega: Theater Honor Society since her freshman year.

She will be the second person in her family to graduate college.

“I hope to continue working in theatre as a stage manager,” says Lydia, who is from Westfield, NJ.


Jacob Thiringer

Jacob Thiringer from Keyport, NJ is a senior Music Major with concentrations in Industry, Performance, and Production, a Business Essentials Certificate.  He has a 3.9 GPA.

Music has been a central part of Jacob’s time at Ramapo.  He served as the vice president and marketing director of the Ramapo Music Club. He helps produce a web series called Tune-In that features live performances of campus bands.  “We currently have 10 episodes live on-line and are proud of our project to create great content for the bands as well as build community and collaboration between music and video students,” said Jacob.  He also plays piano for the Catholic Campus Ministry.

When off campus, Jacob volunteers at a food pantry, and on spring break mission trips to Peru and Mexico. He worked as an audio production intern for OneWay Ministries, and is pursuing a career producing Christian Music.

2016 Recipients

Emma Munro

Emma Munro of Mahwah, NJ is a dual major in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, and Music, with a concentration in Production. She has a 3.9 GPA.

Emma was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association (NJCBAA).

At Ramapo, Emma has been active in the Ramapo Music Club, as president, and Ramapo Ice Hockey, as the assistant to the general manager.

“Ramapo let me pursue two degrees while most schools don’t even let students in either program take classes in the other…Ramapo allowed me to have a true college experience while only being a short ride from home…and while I am nervous to leave, I am also extremely excited to start this next chapter in my life.”

Justin Propper

Justin Propper of Hampton, NJ is a Theater major with a double concentration in Design/Tech and Directing/Stage Management.  He has a 3.5 GPA.

At Ramapo, Justin has been active in many of the college’s main stage and student-run theatre productions.  Some of his work on these productions includes sound designing Miss Julie, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Dog Sees God:Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, and various other  projects.

Jon Prokopowitz

Jon Prokopowitz of Ringwood, NJ is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Drawing and Painting. He has a 3.975 GPA. Jon has been on the Dean’s List for the past two semesters.

Jon has held frequent showings with local artists, self-published physical works, maintained multiple blogs and websites and has been involved with several artistic/musical side projects.

Emma Munro

Emma Munro of Mahwah, NJ is a dual major in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, and Music, with a concentration in Production. She has a 3.9 GPA.  Emma was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association (NJCBAA).

At Ramapo, Emma has been active in the Ramapo Music Club, as president, and Ramapo Ice Hockey, as the assistant to the general manager.

“Ramapo let me pursue two degrees while most schools don’t even let students in either program take classes in the other…Ramapo allowed me to have a true college experience while only being a short ride from home…and while I am nervous to leave, I am also extremely excited to start this next chapter in my life.”

2015 Recipients

Alyssa Maurin

Alyssa Maurin of South Brunswick, N.J., is majoring in visual arts with a concentration in photography.  She carries a second major in psychology.  Alyssa has a 3.92 grade point average.

At Ramapo, Alyssa works as a global roadrunner in the Roukema Center of International Education.  She is also secretary of Phi Beta Delta.  Off campus, Alyssa exhibited her work at the Center for Fine Art Photography and at the 2014 COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference.  She has completed study abroad programs in Argentina, Denmark and Scotland.

Alyssa is interested in a career in art therapy.

Shae Moorer

Shae Moorer from Neptune, N.J. is a music major with a 4.0 grade point average. Shae is pursuing a double concentration in performance and studies.

She participates with Ramapo Chorale, Skylark Ensemble, CantaNOVA Ensemble and Gospel Choir. She also holds the office of treasurer for Chorale and is a committee member for the College Programming Board. In addition to her on-campus activities, she is a young adult leader for the True Servant Central youth program in Eatontown, NJ

Samantha Simone

Samantha Simone of Basking Ridge, N.J., is a theater major with a concentration in acting and is pursuing teacher certification. She has been inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta. Samantha has a 3.82 grade point average.

At Ramapo, she is the host of This Week in Ramapo. She is secretary of Alpha Psi Omega and treasurer of Fusion Dance Crew.

Samantha, who has years of acting experience, would like to become a professional actress and to teach theater.

2014 Recipients

Jessica Gouker

Jessica Gouker of Jackson, NJ is a Theater major with two concentrations, one in Directing/Stage Management and the other in Design/Technical Theater. Jessica has a 3.93 grade point average.

Amy Diehl

Amy Diehl of Pequannock, NJ is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Drawing and Painting. She carries an Art History major. Her professor, John Peffer, wrote “she excels in written and studio work and possesses admirable intellectual and social maturity—all signs that she will be a future leader in whatever career she chooses. Her work is steeped in political and social commentary, often addressing issues of addiction and violence,” he added. “Amy is a hardworking artist, inventive, inquisitive, values craft and presentation.” Amy has a 3.92 grade point average.

Kaitlyn Rose McBurnie

Kaitlyn McBurnie of Atlantic Highlands, NJ is in her senior year, majoring in Music with a concentration in Music Performance. Kaitlyn’s minor is Psychology. She plans to pursue a music teaching career to bring her love of music to children. Professor Ben Neill said: “This aligns with her role as a Musicianship tutor for the Music Program over the past two years in which she has assisted many students with their Musicianship studies. She’s been singing all her life and was thrilled to find like-minded spirits during choral ensemble auditions at Ramapo, with an impromptu sing-along in the halls. She loves Chorale. She has written insightful research essays on early recordings of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” which fits her vocal interests, and the Beatle’s Rubber Soul as a transitional album with new sounds reaching new audiences.” She has earned a 3.56 grade point average.

2013 Recipient

Grace Watkins

Grace Watkins of Edgewater Park, NJ is the top-ranked student in the Visual Arts major. “Grace has maturity and ambition,” says professor Jackie Skrzynski. “She grasps conceptual and formal decisions in her art work and has the intellect and creative capacities to excel in her field after graduation.” Grace has been awarded Honorable Mention in the NJ Young Filmmakers Festival. In addition, she is proficient in American Sign Language. Grace has a 3.91 grade point average.

This scholarship is a great help to me during my last year here at Ramapo. The money has helped me to buy the supplies I need for my senior thesis class. After school, I hope to find a job illustrating children’s books and later in life to teach art to hearing-impaired students.

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