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Topken, Marina and William Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship

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Marina Topken graduated from Ramapo College in 1987 with a degree in American and International Studies. She taught and translated German at several language institutions in the area and tutors children in underserved schools in Paterson, NJ. Mrs. Topken has been a steady supporter of the College’s The Fund for Ramapo College since 1997. She and her husband William have been involved with the Friends of Ramapo for many years and were instrumental in raising funds for the Friends. Mrs. Topken served as the Friends’ president and Mr. Topken as the group’s treasurer.

The intent of the Marina and William Topken Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship is to benefit undergraduate nursing students at Ramapo College. Members of Marina’s family practiced medicine, including her father, a surgeon, her grandfather and uncle. This scholarship is to recognize the important work nurses do.

  • Must be sophomore or higher
  • 2.70 GPA or higher
  • Recipient selected by the Assistant Dean based on recommendations from the faculty

This scholarship is not awarded through the application process.

2022 Recipients

Eric Mangru

Eric Mangru of Lyndhurst, N.J. is a Nursing major. He has a 3.95 GPA and is on the Dean’s List.  

At Ramapo, Eric has been active in several organizations and activities, including the Nursing Student Organization and the Honors Program. In both organizations, Eric sits on the executive board and helps plan initiatives and events for the college. 

April Ceballos

April Ceballos of Tomkins Cove, N.Y. is a sophomore Nursing major with a concentration in the Spanish Certificate for Health Professionals. She has a 3.9 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List in each semester since the beginning of her college career.

At Ramapo, April has been a proud member of the Filipino-American Student Association and the Nursing Student Organization. 

Off-campus, April is an active member of the Concerned Filipinos for Unity, an organization in which she specifically sings for the choir.

After graduation April intends to apply for an RN position at Columbia Presbyterian. She was inspired to pursue a B.S.N. by reflecting on the dedication of her mother, a recently retired nurse who served 37 years at Columbia Presbyterian hospital. 

April says, “I hope to incorporate the skills and life lessons taught in Ramapo’s nursing program in my future career to encourage an optimal environment for nurturing interaction with patients.”

2021 Recipients

Suhani Patel

“I am proud to be the first member of my family to pursue a degree in the medical field,” says Suhani Patel of Parsippany, N.J. Suhani is a Nursing major with a 3.7 GPA. 

Through Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, she has volunteered in walk-a-thons for Suicide Prevention, Relay for Life, and Race to End Sarcoma. She also practiced her clinical skills while studying abroad in Ghana.

Suhani works as a Nursing Assistant and a Patient Liaison Manager, where she manages patients interested in clinical research trials. At Morristown Medical Center, she completed a Nursing Externship.

After she graduates, Suhani will achieve her goal of being a Registered Nurse, followed by becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Kayla Gill

Kayla Gill of Montville, N.J. is a Nursing major with a 3.9 GPA. She recently became a Patient Care Technician in the ICU at Chilton Medical Center. 

Kayla is active in several organizations and activities. As a Peer Facilitator, Kayla works with first-year students in their transition from high school to college. She gives tours to prospective students and their families as a Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassador.  In the Nursing Student Organization, Kayla helps generate funds for charities and mentors underclassmen Nursing majors. Through the American Cancer Society on Campus, she raises money through various fundraisers and events, and she is Secretary and the Head of the Food Committee.

Kayla has been involved in off-campus activities such as volunteer work with her local church, St. Pius X, throughout high school.  She also worked at Barry’s Montville Pharmacy as a sales associate for over three years.

2020 Recipients

Christine Sae

Christine Sae of Little Ferry, N.J. is a Nursing major. She has a 3.5 GPA and is a part of Ramapo’s College Honors Program. She hopes to become a nurse practitioner in the future.

Along with being a Resident Assistant on-campus, Christine has been active in Leaders in Service (LIS), the Nursing Student Organization, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she mentors her Little.

Christine works off-campus as an assistant teacher in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana Children’s Ministry, located in Maywood, N.J. She is also a part of the All Stars Network, located in Newark, N.J., which works with inner-city youth in developing career paths.

Kayla Gill

Kayla Gill of Montville, N.J. is a Nursing major with a 4.0 GPA. “Throughout my time at Ramapo, I want to excel in my classes and develop meaningful relationships with faculty and students,” says Kaya.

Kayla is most proud of her role as a Peer Facilitator for first-year students because she is passionately driven to help and support others. She also gives tours to prospective students/families as a Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassador and helps generate charity funds through the Nursing Student Organization. Furthermore, she is a member of Colleges Against Cancer, where she helps raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Off-campus, she volunteers with her local church and works as a Sales Associate at Barry’s Montville Pharmacy.

2019 Recipients

Jamie Anne Anderson

Jamie Anne Anderson of Cliffside Park, N.J. is a nursing student with a 3.350 GPA. She is a member of the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor society and made the spring 2017 Dean’s List.

Jaime volunteers as an EMT at Fairview Emergency Response and Mahwah Emergency Medical Services. During the week, she works at Pulse Transport, and on the weekends she works as an EMT for Cliffside Park Emergency Medical Services.

She was also the team manager for the Ramapo College Women’s Basketball team during their 2016-2017 season, and last winter, she volunteered as one of the assistant coaches for Bergen Tech High School’s Girls Varsity Basketball Team.

After college, she plans to pursue a nursing career in the military, then attain her Masters of Science in Nursing, and hopefully travel and work with Doctors Without Borders.

Ethan Leffler

“Nursing gives me the opportunity to incorporate my love for people and my love for science into a rewarding career. I’m not sure what my plans for the future hold, but I know they will be achieved through the support of my friends, family and faculty,” says Ethan Leffler. Ethan has a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key Honor Society.

Ethan is a student instructor for Anatomy and Physiology. He also serves as the student representative for the Nursing Class of 2020. He is from Hillsdale, N.J.

2018 Recipients

Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee of Northvale, N.J. is a Nursing major. She has a 3.78 GPA and is a member of the Honors Program.

At Ramapo, Jamie is currently a Teacher’s Assistant. She has previously been the president of Alpha Lambda Honor Society and the secretary of the Resident Hall Association.

Jamie is proudly serving the youth-group members at her church as a youth-group teacher. “After graduation, I hope to follow in my brother’s footsteps and join the Air Force to not only serve others, but my country as well.”

Paul Kozakiewicz

“Receiving scholarship support inspires me to push past the hardships that come with being a Nursing major and be the best student I possibly can,” says sophomore Paul Kozakiewicz.

Paul has a 4.0 GPA and is a proud member of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society.  “I’m not sure exactly what field of nursing I want to pursue, but I know that my future classes and clinical experience will help me decide.”

Paul is part of the Nursing Student Organization on campus and works for the Center for Student Involvement in CSI Design. He also works a seasonal job at Panera Bread and contributes to the Extra Life Charity benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Paul is from Bergenfield, N.J.

2017 Recipients

Erica McCausland

“Receiving this scholarship will help me achieve my goals of becoming a nurse and allow me to give back to others,” said Erica McCausland of Paramus, NJ. Erica has a 3.96 GPA and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and was selected to the Golden Key Honor Society.

She is active in her community volunteering as an EMT in Paramus and Rochelle Park, and loves being able to help others. After graduation, Erica plans to work in the ER or trauma unit of a hospital.

Ronni Wellema

Ronni Wellema of Little Falls, New Jersey is a Nursing major. She holds a 3.6 GPA and is on the Dean’s List.  After graduation, Ronni’s goal is to work as a trauma nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center.

At Ramapo, Ronni is a member of the Field Hockey team, and active in the Nursing Club. She became a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholrs in February 2016.

Ronni has worked as both a waitress and at a frozen yogurt store, and is proud to have juggled two jobs while simultaneously keeping her grades up and being a part of a collegiate sports team. She has also previously volunteered as a youth lacrosse coach.

2016 Recipient

Bristi Sarkar

Bristi Sarkar of Atlantic City, NJ is a Nursing major. She has a 3.65 GPA. At Ramapo, Bristi has been active in several organizations and activities, including Peer Facilitation and Residence Life. She is a Peer Facilitator for Ramapo’s Living-Learning Community, and also works as a desk attendant.

Bristi has been involved in off campus activities and organizations, including interning at a dental office and volunteering as an EMT. She received her EMT certification when she was a senior in high school and has been passionate about healing others ever since. Bristi hopes to become a Family Nurse Practitioner after her undergraduate education.

2015 Recipient

Samuel Pecoraro

Sam Pecoraro of Lodi, N.J., is a nursing major. He has a 3.13 grade point average.


Sam said he has always had an interest in the medical field. He is CPR, EMT-B and firefighter certified. Off campus, he works in the accounting department of a corporation.


Sam would like to continue his education and work toward a doctorate degree.

2014 Recipient

Kaitlin Hulbert

Kaitlin Hulbert of Wayne, NJ is a Nursing major. She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Golden Key Honor Society and the Nursing Student Organization. Kaitlin is proud of her work as a nursing assistant in the Labor and Delivery department of a hospital. She also works as a private tutor and a child care provider. She plans to work in a neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital. “Receiving this scholarship is a huge honor and it will help me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse and helping people,” she said. “It also acknowledges my continuing hard work and dedication to the Nursing program.” Kaitlin has a 3.78 grade point average.

2013 Recipient

Jacalyn McCombs

Jacalyn McCombs is a returning adult student majoring in Nursing. “Jackie is hard working, dedicated, and determined to succeed,” says Asha Mehta, the nursing advisor. Jackie is a junior with a 2.80 grade point average. She is from Paterson, NJ.

2012, 2011 Recipient

Wesam Al-Shaibani

Wesam Al-Shaibani is in his senior year in the undergraduate nursing (BSN) program. He has earned a 3.77 grade point average. Wesam is involved in basketball and volleyball leagues outside of Ramapo. He is from Lodi, New Jersey.

2010 Recipient

Chikara Iwuagwu

Chikara Iwuagwu is from Englewood, NJ and is in her senior year of the undergraduate Nursing major. She has earned a 3.25 grade point average. Chikara is president of the Organization of African Unity, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Chi Alpha Epsilon and volunteers with the Black Student Union. She also is a volunteer for Mbano Community Inc., helping to raise funds for the organization’s medical mission. “Last semester I participated in the Miss Nigerian Independence Pageant and I finished as a runner up,” she says. “My grandfather once told me that I should never forget where I came from and this was my way of bringing his words to life.” Chikara plans to use her knowledge in the nursing field to open a health care center in her parents’ hometown in Nigeria.

This scholarship will help me both financially and mentally to attain my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and has reminded me that hard work and dedication pays off in the long run.

2009 Recipient

Domenico Esposito

Domenico Esposito is a resident of Westwood, NJ and is in his third year of the undergraduate Nursing program. His minor is in Psychology. Domenico has earned a 3.12 grade point average. He works in administrative services at Hackensack Hospital.

The scholarship I have received will help me to be able to continue my professional career as a nurse. And I hope to one day be able to give back to the future of nursing professionals.

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