Skip to Scholarships site navigationSkip to main content

Virtual Tour

Pierson, Sharon G. Scholarships I & II

Make a Donation

Bernard J. Milano, a former member of the Executive Committee of the Ramapo College Foundation, established two endowments in honor of his wife, Sharon Gay Pierson.

Dr. Pierson’s early educational and professional interests were in literature and theater, having graduated with honors from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After doing graduate work in Shakespearean studies in England and working in the entertainment industry, she transitioned to business and worked as a Management Consultant for Merrill Lynch in the Relocation Management Division, which handled human resource issues for companies experiencing relocation due to new business directions, mergers, or acquisitions.

Dr. Pierson retired from Merrill Lynch when she and Mr. Milano moved to New Jersey, where she enjoyed serving in leadership positions for non-profit organizations, such as the Junior League of Bergen County, the Boy Scouts of America, the Allendale Foundation for Educational Excellence, and Bergen County Academies, among others.

She earned her master’s degree in curriculum and teaching at Columbia University, Teacher’s College, her master’s in philosophy, and her PhD in History and Education from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Pierson has presented her research at numerous academic conferences around the nation, such as the History of Education Society, American Educational Research Association, and the John Dewey Centennial, and published Laboratory of Learning, with Peter Lang Publishing (2014), as well as contributed chapters, including Schools of Tomorrow, Schools of Today: Revisited, and Using Past As Prologue (Information Age Publishing, 2016). Sharon Pierson teaches courses in the Communication Arts program in Ramapo’s School of Contemporary Arts. The Pierson Scholarships commemorate Dr. Pierson’s “love of teaching and her commitment to Ramapo’s students,” and benefit students majoring in Communication Arts.

  • For Communication Arts majors
  • Must have 24 Ramapo College full time credits
  • GPA 3.5+
  • Recipients chosen by the Office of the Provost

Apply Online


2020 Recipients

Lara Ghougasian-Bairamian

“Being a part of Ramapo’s Degree Completion Program allows me to continue to work full time  at Shiseido Americas Corporation, pursue my own baking business, and fulfill my dream of obtaining my bachelor’s degree,” says Lara Ghougasian-Bairamian. “I am so grateful for this scholarship because not only does it offer monetary support, but it also has encouraged me to keep working hard and moving forward. I believe that this step will help further my career and allow me to grow in the company.”

She also volunteers with her church as a teacher and member of the worship team. Lara is a Communications Major and has a 3.9 GPA. She is from Bogota, N.J.


Amanda Steuernagel

Amanda Steuernagel of Rahway, N.J. is a Global Communications and Theater Studies double major with a minor in Art History. “I am a firm believer in using any art form as a platform for communication,” says Amanda. “I’m interested in dramaturgy and art history because they provide historical context and accuracy to generate new, progressive ideas.”

Amanda has worked in both the CA School Office and the Office of Violence Prevention, and she has acted, directed, and worked as a dramaturg for several Ramapo productions. She’s also the secretary of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and a member of the Communications and Theater, National Honor Societies.

She recently spent the summer in Amherst, MA as Assistant Company Manager and Dramaturg at Ko Theater Festival. Amanda hopes to become an Artistic Director who chooses what plays, exhibits, and shows are to be produced in a company based on political relevance or movements in modern time.



2019 Recipients

Brianna Burkert

“Ramapo has transformed me,” says Brianna Burkert of Bridgewater, NJ. “I have met so many great people, joined a professional fraternity, volunteered, studied abroad in Peru, and found myself.”

Brianna is a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Global Communication and Media. She has a minor in Sociology and is pursuing a Business Essentials Certificate. Briana has a 3.7 GPA, is part of several honor societies and has achieved Dean’s List status every semester.

She has served as Public Relations chair for the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega and has been involved in Relay for Life on campus. She has completed several internships in her field and worked part-time jobs.


Dionaisy Caceres

Dionaisy Caceres is a sophomore majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in Global Communication and Media. She also wants to pursue a minor in International Business.

At Ramapo, Dionaisy has been active in The Association of Latinos Moving Ahead, where she served on the e-board as secretary, and The Civic and Community Engagement Center, helping to run leadership programs like SAIL and Project LEAD.

She plans to go on to graduate school to earn her MBA and start her own non-profit organization. “I hope to provide inner-city kids with the opportunity to earn valuable skills they can use to succeed in their educational careers.”



2018 Recipients

Amanda Steuernagel

Amanda Steuernagel of Rahway, N.J. is a Global Communications and Theater Studies double major. She has a 3.9 GPA. She recently received a nomination for an Irene Ryan acting award for a performance in Spring 2017.

At Ramapo, Amanda has acted in and produced various productions, attends Zumba classes regularly, and is a member of Ramapo College Dance Company. In the College production “The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise,” she played Actor 3 and was the dramaturg of the production. “After graduation, I hope to become a professional dramaturg or work within the theatre field.”

Mehnaz Ladha

Mehnaz Ladha of Dumont, N.J., is a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in International Studies. She has a 3.988 grade point average and is a member of the College Honors Program.

At Ramapo, Mehnaz is the president of Lambda Pi Eta, staff writer for The Ramapo News and newsletter editor for the College Honors Program. She is also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Golden Key Honor Society, Sigma Iota Rho and Omnicron Delta Kappa. During her study abroad in Athens in summer 2017, Mehnaz conducted research on the effects of the bailout crisis on small business owners in the Pangrati neighborhood.

She is also active off-campus as an editor at SunCity Paradise, where she writes monthly articles and interviews celebrities for the site’s travel profiles. This past summer, Mehnaz was featured in two digital galleries for Glamour.com that highlight diversity on college campuses. She has also interned at Wainscot Media, publisher of regional magazines such as BERGEN, and the Borough of Franklin Lakes. She is also the website manager for Andrea Smith, an award-winning technology reporter.

After graduating from Ramapo, Mehnaz plans to earn her Masters in Business Administration. I’d like to work toward increasing diversity within a business communications context.”



2017 Recipients

Janine McCaffrey

Janine McCaffrey is a senior from Cresskill, NJ and is majoring in Communication Arts/Digital Filmmaking. She has been working as an intern in New York City as a film editor at Stonestreet Studios and recently interned at Viacom with Nickelodeon. At Ramapo, she will continue to serve as President of the Technological Studies Club as well as the Sci-Fi Club. She enjoys assisting her peers in the role of director/producer and editor.


Taylor Madison Vitelli

Taylor Madison Vitelli recently received a nomination for the Irene Ryan award to compete at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.  She is a Communications major with a concentration in Digital Filmmaking and a minor in Theater.

On campus, she served as secretary for Sigma Sigma Sigma for two semesters and has been active in the theater community all four years of college. She also works two jobs and has an internship with Musicplayers.com.

Taylor is from Flemington, NJ.


2016 Recipients

Janine McCaffrey

Janine McCaffrey of Cresskill, NJ is currently a junior pursuing a major in Communication of the Arts with a focus in Digital Film Making. She has a 3.925 GPA and spent last summer interning in New York City as a film editor.

She looks forward to her last two years in Ramapo and more opportunities to expand her horizons in film post-production. She accepted membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the XAE Honor Society. Membership is by invitation only and was based on her class standing and her exceptional GPA. She has been a member and officer of the Technology/Animation Study Club for the past two years and was recently appointed president.

“There is nothing more that I want than to continue reaching my personal and academic potential… when individuals recognize and reward that I am extremely grateful.”


Taylor Vitelli

Taylor Vitelli of Flemington, NJ is a Communications major with a minor in Theatre and concentration in Digital Film.  She has a 3.5 GPA.  At Ramapo, Taylor has led two co-sponsorships for her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, by raising money for children affected by the earthquake in Nepal as well as children in Give Kids the World Foundation.

In addition to working as a hostess at Applebee’s, she has volunteered at Camp Sunshine/Camp Snowflake to work with special needs children and adults.  She also loves the theatre and hopes to show the world how much work goes into the arts.

“What does the future hold?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that no matter what anyone says I am proud of myself and for once I am truly happy and confident in the woman I am becoming.”


2015 Recipients

Emily Brawer

Emily Brawer of Westwood, NJ is a Communication Arts major. As a freshman, Emily completed research
about how female politicians are portrayed on television shows and in movies. What started as a class assignment has blossomed into an issue that she is passionate about. She has presented her research on women’s representation in the media at undergraduate conferences for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the Eastern Communication Association, the College’s Communication Arts Media Collision and Celebration of Student Creativity and Scholarship. “The most rewarding part of these experiences was challenging beliefs of others and prompting them to view gender roles through a different lens,” she said. She would like to publish a book about this topic. Emily works three jobs and holds an internship at a public relations agency. She has a 3.96 grade point average.


Danielle Corcione

Danielle Corcione of Ocean View, N.J., is a literature major with a concentration in creative writing. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and was inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta Literary Honor Society. Danielle has a 3.73 grade point average.

At Ramapo, Danielle has been active in Residence Life, the Potter Library, the Educational Opportunity Fund, Ramapo College Democrats, Model United Nations and the Ramapo News.

Danielle particularly enjoyed participating in a Study Abroad program in Prague, Czech Republic. Danielle plans to attend graduate school to become a college professor.



2014 Recipients

Emily Brawer

Emily Brawer of Westwood, NJ is a Communication Arts major. As a freshman, Emily completed research
about how female politicians are portrayed on television shows and in movies. What started as a class assignment has blossomed into an issue that she is passionate about. She has presented her research on women’s representation in the media at undergraduate conferences for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the Eastern Communication Association, the College’s Communication Arts Media Collision and Celebration of Student Creativity and Scholarship. “The most rewarding part of these experiences was challenging beliefs of others and prompting them to view gender roles through a different lens,” she said. She would like to publish a book about this topic. Emily works three jobs and holds an internship at a public relations agency. She has a 3.96 grade point average.


Danielle Corcione

Danielle Corcione of Ocean View, N.J., is a literature major with a concentration in creative writing. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and was inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta Literary Honor Society. Danielle has a 3.73 grade point average.

At Ramapo, Danielle has been active in Residence Life, the Potter Library, the Educational Opportunity Fund, Ramapo College Democrats, Model United Nations and the Ramapo News.

Danielle particularly enjoyed participating in a Study Abroad program in Prague, Czech Republic. Danielle plans to attend graduate school to become a college professor.



2013 Recipient

Jillian DiBlasio

Senior Jillian DiBlasio has expanded her horizons from animated film to better appreciate live action pieces. “No matter what medium I am ultimately working in,” she says, “what matters is that I am telling the types of stories that I enjoy most.” She worked this year with two production companies, Tappan Films and Warlock Films. A Digital Filmmaking major with a 3.96 grade point average, Jillian had one of her films accepted to several film festivals, including one in Indianapolis, IN. She is planning to apply for internships at Pixar and Disney. Jillian is from Norwood, NJ.

This scholarship allowed me to take an extra semester worth of courses and helped me figure out what I want to do in the future.


2012 Recipients

Michelle Regna

Michelle Regna is a junior majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in Design and Interactive Media. Her minor is Spanish Language Studies. Michelle works on campus as a designer for the Office of Student Activities. “When I discovered there was a design department that created poster advertisements for clubs and organizations to advertise their events, I could not think of a more perfect job,” she says. Michelle has won an award for best logo design at Ramapo’s Media Collision, and was inducted into the communications honor society this year. She is a member of the Creative Media Club and Delta Phi Epsilon. She traveled to Costa Rica this spring on an alternative spring break program. Michelle has earned a 3.89 grade point average and is from Middlesex, NJ.

Jillian DiBlasio

Senior Jillian DiBlasio has expanded her horizons from animated film to better appreciate live action pieces. “No matter what medium I am ultimately working in,” she says, “what matters is that I am telling the types of stories that I enjoy most.” She worked this year with two production companies, Tappan Films and Warlock Films. A Digital Filmmaking major with a 3.96 grade point average, Jillian had one of her films accepted to several film festivals, including one in Indianapolis, IN. She is planning to apply for internships at Pixar and Disney. Jillian is from Norwood, NJ.



2011 Recipients

Diana Stanczak

Diana Stanczak of Clifton, NJ is a Journalism major. Diana is the Arts and Entertainment editor of The Ramapo News. This summer, she plans to pursue more experience with community newspapers. Diana is president of Alpha Lambda Delta, Ramapo’s freshman honor society. She says, “My role as president has taught me how to effectively manage my time and communicate with others, a skill that is invaluable to my chosen field.” Diana, who has a 3.75 grade point average, works in a local restaurant and is a volunteer with the Ukrainian American Youth Association. She would like to became a media and entertainment lawyer.

Jillian DiBlasio

Senior Jillian DiBlasio has expanded her horizons from animated film to better appreciate live action pieces. “No matter what medium I am ultimately working in,” she says, “what matters is that I am telling the types of stories that I enjoy most.” She worked this year with two production companies, Tappan Films and Warlock Films. A Digital Filmmaking major with a 3.96 grade point average, Jillian had one of her films accepted to several film festivals, including one in Indianapolis, IN. She is planning to apply for internships at Pixar and Disney. Jillian is from Norwood, NJ.

This scholarship will help further my education and help me achieve my goal of successfully working in the film industry.


2010 Recipients

Julianne Candio Sekel

At age seven, Julianne Candio Sekel wrote a poem about seasons that was published in the 1998 edition of the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans. Back then, she didn’t realize her capacity to gain knowledge and grow into an individual who uses writing as an outlet for emotions. She describes writing poetry as a lyrical outlet, one that affords the perfect escape from an imperfect world. As a college student, Julianne is majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in Writing, and is pursuing a minor in Literature. Says Julianne, “I am positive my future will entail a pen in hand and a passionate fire within the depths of my imagination.” Julianne is a sophomore from North Arlington, NJ and has earned a 3.97 grade point average.


Megan Anderle

Megan Anderle of Wayne, NJ is a Contemporary Arts major. She has worked as a reporter for The Daily Record, a position that prepared her to serve as news editor and editor-in-chief of The Ramapo News. Megan says, “I hold myself to a high standard and take pride in the work of our editors and staff.” Megan redesigned the look of The Ramapo News and instituted writing guidelines which proved to be especially helpful to students who hadn’t written an article before. On campus, she’s a writing tutor, has served as a peer facilitator, is a member of the Student Government Association, the Student Leaders Coalition and the Constitutional Review Committee. Megan was named to Alpha Lambda Delta, the freshman honor society. She maintains a 3.89 grade point average.

I am so thankful for the generous scholarship I received. My award will help me pay for books over the next few semesters.


2009 Recipients

Lindsay Goldstein

Lindsay Goldstein is a communication arts major with a concentration in media and cinema studies. She is a junior with a 3.64 grade point average. Lindsay transferred from Arizona State University and is from Monsey, New York. She is a writer for the Ramapo News, and was inducted into the National Communication Honor Society. Last summer she volunteered on construction projects in a village in the Dominican Republic, where she used her sign language skills. Lindsay has worked as an intern at Movado Group. “I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in marketing,” she says.

The scholarship that I have received is the Sharon Pierson Communications Scholarship II. Not only is this scholarship helpful to me in my college experience, but it places aspiration and goals into communication majors to strive for academic achievements. As my previous teacher, Sharon Pierson has inspired me to believe in succeeding in all my future endeavors.

Kenneth Nicholas

“I never dreamed I would be sought after and paid to choreograph, teach, and supervise stage fights,” says Kenneth Nicholas. Kenneth is a senior majoring in communications arts/ journalism with a minor in theater. He is from Pompton Lakes, New Jersey and has earned a 3.89 grade point average. Kenneth has completed stage combat training and teaches classes throughout the year in various techniques including rapier, unarmed, falling, and whip cracking, and has choreographed fights for community playhouses, high schools, theaters, and college productions (including Ramapo). He is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors.

This scholarship is more than a mere monetary hand-out. In addition to the financial support, it comes with moral support.This shows that the Ramapo Foundation recognizes your academic achievements and your potential. They’re saying:‘We believe in you.’ That’s the most important part.

Back to List