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Biener, Marcel Scholarship

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In 2010 Dr. Alexander Biener created this scholarship in honor of his father, Marcel Biener. Marcel, who passed away in 2012, was a Holocaust survivor by virtue of Jagendorf’s Foundry, a factory that kept thousands of Jews alive. Marcel was fluent in seven languages and was able to parlay his language skills into a career as an engineering professor in Romania and Israel, before moving his family to America.

“The purpose of this scholarship is to further the understanding of survival from genocide,” says Dr. Biener. “It is offered in the hope that talking about the roots of genocide, such as bigotry and lack of education, remembering the terrible instances and celebrating the survivors, regardless of how they survived, will bring us one step further from letting this happen again.”

“This scholarship is offered to students who demonstrate interest, understanding, and compassion in these matters or who plan, through community service, or service in the Peace Corps or our armed forces, to help oppressed people everywhere. In giving to others, we hope to demonstrate the strength of the human spirit — to overcome — and that even one life saved can open a whole new universe. In fostering remembrance and study of the past, we hope to strengthen the abilities and resolve of our youth to seek a better future for all.”

  • For students who demonstrate commitment to community service, or are planning to serve in the armed forces or Peace Corps
  • Engineering Physics and Mathematics majors are also eligible
  • Applicants must submit an essay describing their community service or planned service in the armed forces or Peace Corps and how that will will foster understanding about oppressed populations in the world
  • Good academic standing
  • Reviewed by the Scholarship coordinator and a committee of faculty, staff, and family members .

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2020 Recipient

Mariella Zijdel

“I’m passionate about advocating for diversity and LGBTQ+ issues,” says Mariella Zijdel of Gillette, N.J. Mariella is a Social Work major with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies, and Substance Use Disorders. She has a 3.3 GPA.

Mariella has been involved in Leaders in Service, Sophomores Advancing in Leadership, and has been a Resident Assistant at the College Park Apartments for two years. She currently serves as the Student Trustee and is the Student Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Women’s Center and LGBTQ+ Services.

Off campus, Mariella has been involved in the Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment Working Group for N.J.’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, is currently on the Student Advisory Committee for N.J.’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, is an intern for N.J. Senator Nellie Pou, and is a volunteer and foster for St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center.

After graduation, Mariella plans to attend graduate school for Social Work with a concentration in Policy Advocacy. “I am proud to be a part of many important organizations on campus and plan to use my experiences to induct change in the world,” she adds.

2019 Recipient

Rebecca Citarella

Rebecca Citarella of Scotch Plains, N.J. is a Nursing Major. She has a 3.4 GPA and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.  Rebecca has been active in Leaders in Service, Residence Life, and the Honors Program.  Off-campus, she is involved in Young Life and volunteers at Liquid Church.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling and participating in outdoor activities.

Rebecca aspires to be in the United States Air Force as a nurse after college.  “My hope is to give back to the community by serving those who serve our country.”

2018 Recipient

Sara Dec

Sara Dec of Wallington, N.J. is a Social Work major with a minor in Substance Abuse. She has a 3.81 GPA and is a member of Golden Key International Honor Society.

“I’ve always wanted to work in the field of child welfare and am currently in job training at the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.” Throughout college, Sara has worked full-time at various jobs as a travel agent, bank teller and member service representative. She has interned at the Bergen County Jail and the Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources.


2017 Recipient

Izabela Sadej

Izabela Sadej is a member of the Social Work Club and was inducted into the Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity where she held a “Support the Troops” sisterhood, sending a care package to troops deployed in Afghanistan.   This initiative has special significance for Izabela, as her husband is currently deployed there.

Izabela, who is from Fair Lawn, NJ, is a Social Work major with a minor in Neuroscience. She has a 3.7 GPA and was acknowledged on the Dean’s list both semesters of her freshman year.

Izabela has a job off campus as part of the sales and support team at Macy’s.

2016 Recipient

Sasha Lopez

Sasha Lopez of Weehawken, NJ is an International Studies major and Human Rights and Genocide minor.  She has a 3.4 grade point average.

At Ramapo, Sasha has been active in several organizations and activities, including Organization of Latino Unity, where she serves as treasurer, and Leaders in Service. She also serves as the Secretary and Historian for Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority.

Sasha is an events intern with Amnesty International USA where she was exposed to human rights violations. She has also been involved with the International Rescue Committee, Ramapo College Alternative Spring Break (Arkansas), Ramapo College Alternative Winter Break (Costa Rica), Community Food Bank, Peer Leadership, and Oasis: Haven for Women and Children.

“Ramapo and its amazing faculty have helped make me more of a problem solver and critical thinker.  I have enjoyed the support faculty has given me in supporting my dreams to have a career in International Development.”

2015 Recipient

David Resnick

David Resnick of Ocean, N.J., is an international studies major. He carries two minors, anthropology and human rights and genocide studies. David has a 3.05 grade point average. He was inducted into Alpha Phi Omega, the National Community Service Fraternity.
At Ramapo, David is a member of the Global Roadrunner and the Ramapo First Responders Clubs and Leaders in Service.
David’s career goals include joining the Peace Corps, becoming an officer in the U.S. military and working for a U.S. government international organization.

2014 Recipient

Brianne Kennedy

Brianne Kennedy of Old Bridge, NJ is an International Studies major and carries minors in Human Rights & Genocide and Women & Gender Studies. During her first year at Ramapo College, Brianne explored different opportunities in leadership and academia. She found that one of her passions was combatting social justice issues through community service. Brianne has amassed more than 300 hours of community service through the College’s Civic and Community Engagement Center where she became area manager. She planned events for the Leaders in Service Program and won honors from the Center for Student Involvement for campus participation. Brianne participated in an alternative spring break trip to Asheville, NC to build houses. She is particularly pleased to have served as a tutor for the International Rescue Committee working with refugee children at a Youth Summer Academy. She spent six weeks working with children from China, Tibet, Russia, Jordan, Sudan, Iraq and other countries. The experience has inspired Brianne to continue her education and attend graduate school. She has a 3.83 grade point average.

I am so thankful to be receiving this scholarship, which will help me achieve all of my dreams in College and beyond!

2013 Recipient

Kevin Ng

Kevin Ng of Oradell, N.J., is a mathematics major and an economics minor. He is pursuing certification in the Teacher Education Program. He has a 3.98 grade point average.
At Ramapo, Kevin is a member of the mathematics, teacher education, leadership and first-year honor societies. He also serves as the student trustee, a civic and community engagement center student coordinator, a Ramapo admissions student ambassador, a peer facilitator and an orientation leader.
Interested in sports statistical analysis, Kevin is the league statistician for the Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League. After Ramapo, Kevin plans to earn a Ph. D. in economics.

As a future Mathematics teacher, I will be better able to guide my students to understand diversity and the importance of community service. I am grateful for this scholarship as it recognizes my commitment to these goals.

2012 Recipient

Anthony Kelly

Anthony Kelly of Stony Point, NY is a Law and Society major. He plans to apply to the officer’s training program in United States Air Force. He is attracted to that branch of the military because, “The Air Force tends to be the military branch that reaches out to world disasters after they happen.” He also hopes to be eligible for the G.I. Bill, which would pay for a master’s degree. Anthony has been a volunteer for Big Brother Big Sister Foundation and is a mentor – the only one who has not yet graduated from college – at a program that helps at risk children in his home town. He says it’s taught him “dedication, the will to serve others and selflessness.” Anthony works full time in a restaurant and also runs a home-based business.

2010 Recipient

Brendan Flanagan

“Many of us know Brendan Flanagan as a student leader even if we have not had him in class,” says Literature Professor Monika Giacoppe. “He is a leader in Sigma Tau Delta (the Literature honor society) and in the Literature Club,” continues Dr. Giacoppe. Brendan is a senior majoring in International Studies as well as Literature, and has earned a 3.82 grade point average. He is from West Keansburg, NJ.

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