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Lally, Garvin ’84 Writer’s Scholarship

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Garvin Lally graduated from Ramapo in 1984 and became a freelance writer. He started as an Economics major and graduated with a degree in Communications. The oldest of five children, his sister Gina recalls that he published a paperback book of poetry. He met his wife, Julie on a business trip to China, while working and writing for a college life magazine called DORM.

Tragically, Garvin died at age 28 in an airplane crash in Chile, South America in 1991. His wife Julie established this scholarship in Garvin’s memory to perpetuate his love for writing and for Ramapo College. Gina says Garvin would deeply encourage any student that has a passion for writing to do so. “It is a powerful vehicle for self-expression that can not only be beneficial to the writer, but also can give others an intimate experience, understanding, hope, laughter, love, and so much else.”

Candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in writing, literature or poetry.

  • For students who have a strong interest in writing, poetry or literature
  • Students must have completed a minimum of 24 credits at Ramapo College
  • Applicants must include a letter of recommendation attached to this application
  • Writing samples must be submitted as part of the essay on line

Apply Online


2019 Recipient

Deanna Venezio

Deanna Venezio of Brick, N.J. is a senior Theater major with a concentration in Theater Studies and a minor in Literature. She hopes to combine a career in English and the performing arts.

Deanna has performed in several productions at Ramapo, is a member of Alpha Psi Omega theatre honor society and the sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma.  She has been heavily involved in the sorority community service projects, including March of Dimes and the Robert Paige Memorial Fund, an organization dedicated to play therapy for terminally ill children. Deanna has also proudly worked as a Resident Assistant on campus.

This past summer, she interned at Algonquin Arts Theater in Manasquan, N.J. where she worked as a Marketing/Box Office intern, as well as a camp administrator for the children’s education department. “Working hands-on with children in the arts is one of my proudest accomplishments thus far.”

She currently holds a 3.3 GPA.



2018 Recipient

Deanna Venezio

Deanna Venezio of Brick, N.J. is a Theatre major with a minor in Literature. She currently holds a 3.5 GPA. Deanna has been active in several clubs and organizations, including Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and Alpha Psi Omega (National Theater Honor Society), where she has been very involved in fundraising and philanthropy. “This experience has really allowed me to branch out even further and learn the values of commitment and generosity.”

Since her freshman year, she has further explored her love and passion for performance through Ramapo’s theater and film program and has performed in several main stage productions at the Berrie Center. She works for the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) on campus.

“I love to write and communicate with others, which is why I study American Sign Language, a second language I am passionate about.” She hopes to one day teach English and Literature at the college level, or perhaps bring English to those seeking to learn it.



2017 Recipient

Christine Zielinski

“I’ve been writing since I was a child, starting with stories and later poetry,” said Christine Zielinski.  The double major in Visual Arts and Literature has a concentration in Creative Writing. “I’ve known since childhood that I wanted to study creative writing.”

Christine has a 3.9 GPA and is active in the Literature Club.  She has also contributed to Trillium.

During high school, she was the vice president of her literary magazine, Folio and was also a leading contributor for the magazine, publishing poems within the booklet.

Christine is from East Brunswick, NJ.


2016 Recipient

Michael Verdon

Michael Verdon of Hawthorne, NJ is a History major who is pursuing a certification in Social Studies education. He has a 3.95 GPA and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.

Michael has been involved in a wide spectrum of writing-based work and activities during his time in school. In addition to tutoring young writers and volunteering as a catechist at his local church, he has also been collaborating with his brother on a young-adult fantasy novel for the past five years. During his time in these pursuits, Michael has learned a great deal about the writing and publishing process – skills that he hopes to one day take with him into his professional life.


2015 Recipient

Kenny Moncayo

Kenny Moncayo of North Bergen, N.J. is a literature major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in philosophy.  He has a 3.8 grade point average.  Kenny will be inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta International English Society.

Kenny previously received the Robert J. Christopher Memorial Scholarship.  He is a member of the Literature Club.

After graduation, Kenny plans to pursue a master’s degree in literature.



2014 Recipients

Jessica Minzner

Jessica Minzner of Pittstown, NJ has combined her two loves: graphic design and literature. Last summer, she worked with an independent author to publish a technical book with Amazon. Jessica edited and proofread the text, designed the cover, edited the graphics and did the layout. “Not only is this book the author’s baby, but it’s also mine,” she said. Her humor was reflected in the writing sample, “How to Work at McDonald’s,” which she submitted as part of her scholarship application. In the letter of recommendation by the Convener of Literature, Edward Shannon, Ph.D., said: “How good is her writing? It’s funny. It’s gutsy. It’s short, sharp and shocking.” That is quite an endorsement. Jessica has a 4.0 grade point average.

Christopher Gabbett

Christopher Gabbett of Raritan, NJ is a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Writing. He is minoring in Political Science and International Studies. He is a member of College Republicans, Ramapo Chorale, Political Forum and is active in WRPR. Putting his accomplishments on paper allowed Christopher to realize what a good year he has had. He is a research assistant for Professor Elvira Katic and works as a library assistant. He is particularly proud of being a head writer for a start-up production firm called Mom’s on the Roof Productions. The Web comics he wrote for them debuted in May 2013. He has also published other work. Christopher is considering a career in politics as a result of volunteering for political campaigns. He is proud of having tripled the membership of the Ramapo College Republicans. “I live to succeed and every success helps to propel me forward into the next,” he said. Christopher has a 3.90 grade point average.



2013 Recipient

Christopher Gabbett

Christopher Gabbett of Raritan, NJ is a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Writing. He is minoring in Political Science and International Studies. He is a member of College Republicans, Ramapo Chorale, Political Forum and is active in WRPR. Putting his accomplishments on paper allowed Christopher to realize what a good year he has had. He is a research assistant for Professor Elvira Katic and works as a library assistant. He is particularly proud of being a head writer for a start-up production firm called Mom’s on the Roof Productions. The Web comics he wrote for them debuted in May 2013. He has also published other work. Christopher is considering a career in politics as a result of volunteering for political campaigns. He is proud of having tripled the membership of the Ramapo College Republicans. “I live to succeed and every success helps to propel me forward into the next,” he said. Christopher has a 3.90 grade point average.



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.

Receiving the Lally scholarship has fueled my confidence a great deal.This award has shown me that my work is valuable and it has renewed my vigor in both teaching and crafting great works of literature.


2011 Recipients

Nicole Sybesma

Nicole Sybesma, a Literature major, credits writing for providing her with critical, analytical and communicative skills. A selfdescribed voracious reader and writer, Nicole, a senior, plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. and become an English professor. Nicole also writes poetry, a vehicle, she says, that has opened a window into better understanding herself and language. “Writing is the cornerstone of our society,” says Nicole. “Good writing skills are imperative to all disciplines and occupations, particularly in a global economy.” Nicole is from Mahwah, NJ and has a 3.58 grade point average.

Renée Thomas

Renée Thomas’ writing has evolved from the angst of teenage years to a style that is unapologetic and honest. “My early notebooks became a safe haven for thoughts that I could not express out loud, because the paper would not judge,” Renée says. At Ramapo Renée is majoring in Literature with a History minor and has a 3.53 grade point average. She is an accomplished writer and poet whose work has been published in Trillium, Ramapo’s literary magazine. “I’ve never seen myself doing anything that does not have writing as a key component,” she says. Renée is from Mahwah, NJ.


2010 Recipient

Julianne Candio Sekel

At age seven, Julianne Candio Sekel wrote a poem about seasons that was published in the 1998 edition of the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans. Back then, she didn’t realize her capacity to gain knowledge and grow into an individual who uses writing as an outlet for emotions. She describes writing poetry as a lyrical outlet, one that affords the perfect escape from an imperfect world. As a college student, Julianne is majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in Writing, and is pursuing a minor in Literature. Says Julianne, “I am positive my future will entail a pen in hand and a passionate fire within the depths of my imagination.” Julianne is a sophomore from North Arlington, NJ and has earned a 3.97 grade point average.



2009 Recipient

Louis Maraj

Louis Maraj is a poet and is pursuing a triple major that includes communication arts with a concentration in writing; literature with a concentration in creative writing; and social science with a concentration in culture and identity. He is applying to graduate programs in creative writing. Louis has written numerous poems as part of an Honors seminar and he is “interested in the sonnet and the numerous ways it can be manipulated, fashioned and shaped within its tight sound structure.” Louis is from Trinidad and Tobago and is in his senior year at Ramapo. He has earned a 3.65 grade point average.


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