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Nancy and Robert Kossowsky created the NDK Perseverance Scholarship in honor of their daughter, Nicole, and her success in meeting her own learning challenges. Nicole received a master’s degree in art education from Manhattanville College. She is currently a special education art teacher in the Bronx. The family’s intent in creating this scholarship is to “provide a scholarship for students who have demonstrated integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity.”
“Ordinary students often ask whether there are any scholarships available when they do not have an A average,” wrote Nicole. “Although this scholarship does not require a high GPA, it does require excellence in character, and that students be extraordinary and amazing in other ways. Candidates need to have a diagnosed learning difference and have learned how to self-advocate as well as embrace their differences. They need to be able to see their differences as a gift rather than a disability. Most importantly, the recipient should be someone who wants to continue to learn and knows the steps needed to reach their standard of academic excellence.
- Any documented disability which affects learning, any major
- Student who demonstrates "strength of character" and has good academic standing
- Has financial need based on Foundation policy
- Required letter of support: Ask an adult who knows you well to write a recommendation that describes the character traits "that set you apart." The adult can be any faculty member, coach, clergy member, advisor/mentor, community leader, or employer/supervisor not related to you. You will need to scan and save this letter as a .pdf file to upload with your application.
- Essay topic: Describe the change you have seen in yourself over the past year. What character traits, including your leaning disability, have helped you to persevere and grow? The essay should be sufficiently detailed, typed, double-spaced, and saved as a .pdf file for upload when you’re applying.
Kimberly Hartman of Oradell, N.J is a Social Work major. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since the beginning of her studies in 2019. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honor Society as well as the Golden Key Honor Society.
At Ramapo, Kimberly has been involved in Social Work groups and organizations related to her field of study. She is involved in off-campus organizations as a social work intern in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit, supporting families during their child’s cancer diagnosis. She also has held a job in the General Pediatric Unit for 8.5 years, and would like to obtain a permanent full-time job there upon graduation.
Doreen Ner of Fair Lawn, N.J. is a second year part-time Master of Social Work graduate level student. She has a cumulative 4.0 GPA.
At Ramapo, she is part of Ramapo’s Hillel and Social Work Club. She works with high-risk students at the Holmstead School in Ridgewood, N.J.
One of Doreen’s greatest accomplishments includes working with these at-risk youths. Doreen began her job at the Holmstead School as a paraprofessional one week before the pandemic rendered all schools closed. Not only was she able to accommodate the situation by teaching students one-on-one virtually, but also by engaging students remotely.
Doreen’s assigned fieldwork placement at the Bergen County Technical Schools in Paramus consists of working with students with IEP’s and 504 plans. She provides mental health services for students, including one-on-one counseling, psychoeducational groups, wellness screenings, etc.
“I’m highly motivated and have a strong moral compass, a solid work ethic, and ama diligent student. I put my entire heart and soul into both my academics and my work.”
Post-graduation, she wishes to give back by creating a career out of the helping professions by guiding struggling high-risk youths. She plans to become a therapist specializing in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and trauma therapy. Post-graduation, she wants to further her education by pursing a doctoral degree in social work or psychology and become a professor of higher education.
“I can’t explain just how lucky and far I came to get to this point in my life,” says Jahquan of Hillside, N.J. He is a Computer Science major who wants to create his own software one day. In high school, he was honored as a National Honors Society candidate.
Jahquan is involved with Relay 4 Life and Next-Gen E-Sports association. Relay 4 Life is a Cancer Association for awareness of diseases and illnesses. Jahquan has given speeches of his experiences as a cancer survivor and amputee for the awareness of pediatric rare cancers.
Back in high school, he participated in the Concert Band for about 5 years, school talent/holiday shows and the Teen Arts Competition event. He traveled along the East Coast performing with his school band at different schools and parks. He was a valued self-taught piano player to the band and performed a solo at his high school graduation.
John “Jack” McCaffrey of Cresskill, N.J. is a junior pursuing a contract major in Communication Arts/Digital Filmmaking and Theater/Set Design. Jack works on the crew for both Ramapo College and Cresskill High School theater productions, and also works as an apprentice to a wedding videographer. Outside of school, he enjoys photography and reviewing his many collectibles on YouTube.
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.
Matthew Lynch of Waldwick, N.J. is a sophomore Accounting major and has an interest in serving in the FBI or as a Secret Service Agent.
Matt is part of the Honors Program, a project leader for the Enactus Club, a peer mentor for Leaders in Service, and plays intramural flag football.
Off campus he interns at Goldstein Lieberman LLC, is an active member of the Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Fire Department, and is a lifetime Eagle Scout.
Talina Toscano of Suffern N.Y. is a sophomore, majoring in Music Performance. She has a 3.6 GPA and is a member of the Alpha Delta Lambda Honor Society.
Talina has been active in several musical organizations and activities on campus, including the Ramapo Chorale, the Skylark Women’s Choir and the Ramapo Gospel Choir. She also enjoys performing at many of the school’s open mic nights.
Off-campus, Talina has been very involved in spreading autism awareness and raising money for many autism organizations, including Autism Speaks and West Bergen Mental Health. “I’m particularly proud of my autism wish bracelet project where I created and sold handcrafted beaded bracelets and donated the profits to various autism organizations.”
She is studying music with the goal of becoming a high school music education teacher. Talina enjoys donating her free time by performing at various fundraising events. She has always been happy to help others and hopes to continue to inspire people by doing what she loves.
“I hope to work in the photography field, combining my love of travel and exploration with my unique way of seeing things through a lens,” says Rachel Dickstein of Pennington NJ. Rachel is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Photography. She has a 3.7 GPA and is a member of two honor societies, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Lambda Delta.
At Ramapo, Rachel has been active in the Outdoors Club, the Nutrition and Fitness Club and the Fusion Dance Club. Off campus she is regularly involved in helping at the donation center at her church. She has also donated her time to the Brain Tumor Society fundraising campaign.
Anastasia Caulfield of Cranford N.J. is an International Studies major. On campus, Anastasia has participated in Leaders in Service. She has been elected twice to the SGA, serving as Senator-at-Large liaison to the Women’s Center and Office of Student Conduct.
Anastasia serves as student representative to Ramapo’s Schedule Change Committee. She has worked on Ramapo’s “It’s On Us” campaign to stop violence against women. She has also represented Ramapo at the National Student Leadership Diversity Conference and looks forward to helping to further diversity, sensitivity and respect on campus.
Off-campus, Anastasia’s involvement has included Girl Scouts and recreational programs for children.
Janine McCaffrey, of Cresskill, N.J. is a student in the School of Contemporary Arts with a concentration in digital film making. She has a 3.8 grade point average.
At Ramapo, Janine serves as treasurer of the Anime Pokemon Club. Off campus, she has been involved in Habitat for Humanity.
Jordan Richards of Maplewood, NJ is a Computer Science major with a 3.20 grade point average. Jordan’s minor is Visual Arts with a concentration in Photography. Jordan is involved with A Better Tomorrow, Ramapo Operation Link Up, The Computer and Technology Club, Mackin Hall Residence Council and is an Admissions Student Ambassador. “Knowledge is the key to achieving a certain dream,” he said. “Even if you learn one new thing a day, it takes you one step closer to any goal.” Jordan plans to work creating software that will aid students with learning disabilities. “No goal or dream can be realized all by one’s self,” he added. “I would like to say thank you to the Ramapo College Foundation for providing a helping hand.”
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