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Rodriguez, Judith and Francis Environmental Science Scholarship

Judith and Frank Rodriguez were members of the Friends of Ramapo for many years. Their strong involvement in civic and community service was well-acknowledged by several organizations, and their dedication to the College played an important role in the establishment of several endowed scholarships. Mrs. Rodriguez, a registered pharmacist, and Mr. Rodriguez, whose career included management and consulting positions, resided in Midland Park, N.J. Mr. Rodriguez passed away in March of 2018 while Mrs. Rodriguez died in 2020.

To demonstrate their commitment to supporting students in the sciences, they established the Judith Martinez Rodriguez and Francis J. Rodriguez Environmental Science Scholarship to recognize students pursuing a degree in Environmental Science.

“Supporting the College’s wonderful goals and encouraging students to continue their education is so important to us,” he said when he established the scholarship in 2009. “From among those students, I’m confident we’ll find leaders of tomorrow.”

  • Students with a major in Environmental Science
  • Sophomore or junior
  • Grade point average of 3.50 or higher

2022 Recipient

Karyssa Cendaña

Karyssa Faye Cendaña of Livingston, N.J. is a Environmental Science major with a minor in Creative Writing. She has a 3.6 GPA, and has made the Dean’s List multiple times. She is also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society. 

At Ramapo, she has taken the opportunity to pursue various challenging academic ventures such as two independent studies and the TAS Research Honors Program. Outside of school, she has volunteered at the Essex County Environmental Center, where she enjoys spending time helping young people to embrace nature. 

Karyssa says, “I hope to one day use my passion for art and literature to help make science and sustainable living more accessible for generations to come. 

2021 Recipient

Mikayla Bivona

Mikayla Bivona of Sparta, N.J. is an Environmental Science major. She has a 3.79 GPA and has made the Dean’s List numerous times. Mikayla is dedicated to her studies and is on track to graduate a full semester early. “I have a passion for the outdoors, and I hope to ignite the same passion in others throughout my life,” she says. 

On campus, Mikayla participates in the Women’s Soccer team and the Sustainability Committee through SGA. She volunteers with Challenger Soccer, where she assists with special needs individuals, and the Rivers Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. She is also an assistant coach for the girl’s varsity soccer team at Sparta High School. Through these experiences, Mikayla has learned teamwork, goal setting, patience and gratitude. 

When she is not studying or playing on the field, she is self-employed as a commissioned artist and photographer. Through her business, Mikayla has made charitable contributions to an animal rehabilitation and care facility. She plans on continuing her education toward a masters degree after graduation from Ramapo.

2011 Recipient

Veranika Ivanashka

“Veranika Ivanashka excels in her coursework in all areas of environmental science,” says Professor Emma Rainforth, convener of the major. “She is an outstanding student.” Veranika is an Environmental Science major who is in her junior year. She has earned a 3.76 grade point average. Veranika is from Sloatsburg, NY.

The Environmental Science Scholarship was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise for me; I felt appreciated and deeply honored. I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez for helping me take another step on my educational path.

2010 Recipient

Gregory Owens

A graduate of Wayne Hills High School, Gregory Owens achieved Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, a brown belt in Okinawa Karate and a green belt in Okinawa Kobudo. He also was a member of the Latin Culture Club. As a Boy Scout, he assisted at Special Olympic games, catalogued books at the historical Van Riper- Hopper House and helped other scouts to complete their Eagle Scout projects. Since 2007 Gregory has worked as a landscaper for 40 weeks of the year. He is from Wayne, NJ and has earned a grade point average of 3.56 after his first semester at Ramapo.

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