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François, Martha E. Memorial Scholarship

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Martha E. François, Ph.D. was vice president for academic affairs and professor of history at Ramapo from 1981 to 1983. Along with Pam Bischoff and Nancy Mackin, she was one of the first group of women to hold a chief administrative post at the College.

A magna cum laude graduate of Wells College, she held a master’s degree in history from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Before coming to Ramapo, Dr. François was a professor of history and dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Earlier she was a professor of history and a member of the graduate faculty at Northeastern University, dean of freshmen and sophomores at Wellesley College and an instructor in history at Hollins College.

She lectured and published extensively both in this country and abroad on women’s studies, medieval history and higher education. She was active in numerous professional associations including the American Association for Higher Education, the American Association of University Women, the Indiana Academy of Social Sciences and the American History Association.

During her tenure at Ramapo, Dr. François initiated the College Honors Program, the annual convocation for outstanding students and several new academic programs including the Computer Science major. At the time of her death she was working to establish the Law and Society major and Ramapo’s first master’s program, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.

“Loyalty to family, friends, colleagues, integrity, a dedication to scholarship and a love of learning and friendship — these were singular — never compromised,” said her friend Dr. Irene Nichols of Northeastern University at Dr. François’ memorial service. The Martha E. François Memorial Scholarship recognizes a Ramapo student of high academic achievement.

  • High academic achiever
  • For students enrolled in the College Honors Program
  • Applicants must submit an essay (500 words maximum) answering the question: How do your academic “firsts” demonstrate integrity, a dedication to scholarship and a love of learning and friendship?

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2020 Recipient

Sanskar Raj Marahata

Sanskar Raj Marahata of Kathmandu, Nepal is a Computer Science major and Information Technology Management minor. He is a member of the Honors Program and his 4.0 GPA has placed him on the Dean’s List.
At Ramapo, Sanskar is involved in the Physics Club and Alpha Lambda Delta as their secretary, and the Honors Program as a member of its Admissions Team.

In his free time, he thoroughly enjoys Fyodor Dostoyevsky, O. Henry, Beyond the Fringe, and Yes, Minister.
Sanskar intends to pursue a graduate degree in software engineering.



2019 Recipient

Aashish Poudel

Aashish Poudel of Chitwan, Nepal is an Engineering Physics Major and Mathematics Minor. He has a 3.8 GPA.  A Presidential Scholar at Ramapo, Aashish has been involved in two major academic research projects: one with Professor Philip Anderson in developing biometric hand, and another with Professor Catalin Martin to study optical properties of amorphous metals and ceramics.

At Ramapo, Aashish has been active in Engineering Physics in conducting events related to physics and to gather public interests toward the subject, which otherwise is thought to be dull and tedious discipline.  “As the Physics Tutor, I love to help fellow students, and as a Physics Lab Assistant I try to make physics fun and clear in the experiments.”

He can be found either cooking in his dorm, or solving problems in physics around campus. He seems introverted to strangers, but loves to talk about life and philosophy. 

Aashish plans to go to graduate school for physics and ultimately return back to Nepal and pursue a career as a professor and academic researcher.



2018 Recipient

Amy Aroune

“Growing up, I saw my parents work tirelessly to provide for my family, and I am grateful for all they taught me about perseverance, hard work, and dedication,” says Amy Aroune. Amy is a junior Nursing student in the Honors program. She has a 3.6 GPA, and is a leader on campus as a Resident Assistant in Bischoff and Mackin Halls, Honors Development Group Leader and Executive Board member and student aide, among others.

“I’m most proud of the impact I can have on first-year students as a Resident Assistant, and look forward to the impact I will make on my patient’s lives as a nurse.” She hopes to work with a geriatric population. Amy is from Wantage, N.J.



2017 Recipient

Andrew Herrera

“It is my hope that I can as a student embody her passion for learning,” said Andrew Herrera of Lake Hiawatha, NJ on learning that he was awarded the Martha E. Francois Memorial Scholarship.  The senior is an Environmental Studies major with a 3.98 GPA, and has been on the Dean’s List every semester.

Andrew has been active on campus, including the Alpha Psi Omega theater honor society as an actor and improvisational comic, the Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassadors, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He is also president of the Ramapo College Culture Club.



2016 Recipient

Karen Bassil

Karen Bassil is an Accounting major in the Anisfield School of Business.


2015 Recipient

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.


2014 Recipient

Jessica Ihle

Jessica Ihle of Wayne, NJ carries a double major of Communication Arts with a concentration in Writing and Psychology. She is proud of her academic achievements evidenced by her induction into the Golden Key International Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Jessica’s goal is to become an editor at a beauty magazine. She admits she is the kind of student who embraces involvement in student clubs. She is a writer for the Ramapo College chapter of Her Campus, an online magazine and started a blog, The Glam Review. She is the secretary, choreographer and cuts music for Dance Company and is a member of the Yoga Club. Jessica serves as a Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassador and is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. Her community activities include being a pen pal to residents of the North Jersey Development Center and Luminaria chair of Relay for Life. Jessica has a 3.90 grade point average.

Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to continue taking classes for my double major in Communications and Psychology. I am so grateful for being chosen as the recipient because I can continue to pursue the fields that I truly love.


2013 Recipient

Ryan Stromberg

Ryan Stromberg of Freehold, NJ is a Bioinformatics major and plans to add a minor in East Asian Studies. He is enrolled in the College Honors Program and is a member of Tau Delta Phi and Leaders in Service. He is a resident assistant on campus. “This scholarship will help fund my trip to China as part of the College’s China Immersion Experience Program,” he says. Ryan has a 3.77 grade point average.

This scholarship is helping me fund my study abroad trip to China. (I will be going to Beijing and Shanghai). Hopefully, the trip will be the building blocks of a possible career abroad.


2012 Recipient

Caitlin Vogel

“Caitlin Vogel is endlessly curious, hardworking, and a good representative for the literature program, both in the Center for Reading and Writing, and while presenting at conferences,” says a Literature faculty member. She is a senior majoring in Literature with a Psychology minor. Caitlin is enrolled in the Ramapo College Honors Program. She is active in Sigma Tau Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Caitlin was inducted into Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She is a consultant for the College’s Center for Reading and Writing. “I am very grateful for receiving a scholarship because it will help alleviate student loan debt and allow me to pursue a graduate degree in English,” says Caitlin. She maintains a 3.95 grade point average and is from Wantage, NJ.

This wonderful award will help to inspire and strengthen my drive to succeed.


2011 Recipient

Michael Chananie

“I am pursuing a Business Management major with a minor in Accounting,” says Michael Chananie, a senior. “I work at Holy Name Medical Center in its marketing department, following an internship I had a few summers back.” Michael is a volunteer at the Jewish Community Center of Paramus and for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. On campus Michael holds leadership positions with Hillel, the Honors Program, Donate Life Ramapo, and plays on the intramural volleyball team. With a 3.89 grade point average, he is member of a number of honor societies. “I plan to continue pursuing management in the health care industry,” he says, “by attending graduate school in the fall.”



2010 Recipient

Joo Hun Park

With all sincerity, Joo Hun Park of Fort Lee, NJ says his career goal is “to become the best manager out there and then work my way up to becoming the greatest CEO. I plan to guide my company and employees ethically and successfully.” Not academically inclined in high school, he decided to not only apply to college, but to apply himself, after a series of full-time service-sector jobs and owning his own business. Joo Hun, who is majoring in International Business with a Marketing concentration, knows first hand about the manager/employee relationship. He has learned that treating employees with respect and seizing opportunities through good management are essential. Joo Hun has a 3.93 grade point average.


2009 Recipient

Gina Cirillo

“I am a member of three choirs on campus, landed a lead role in last semester’s musical production, am an active member of Future Educators of America, and am on the executive board of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theater honor society,” says Gina Cirillo of her Ramapo College activities. She works in the Office of Specialized Services on campus, as a nanny, and as music director for the summer recreation camp in her home town of Leonia. Gina is a member of the Players’ Guild of Leona, is a cantor at her church, and sings the national anthem for Roadrunner sporting events. She is an active volunteer for AYSO special needs soccer, and at a homeless shelter. Gina is a contemporary arts major in her junior year, and has earned a 3.71 grade point average.

This scholarship will help me to continue my education, allowing me to come closer to reaching my lifetime goals. For this I am truly thankful.

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