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Williams, Madeleine Ehlert Food and Nutrition Scholarship

For Madeleine Ehlert Williams, food was an expression of love when she was growing up. During her university years, she explored food from a multi-faceted perspective.  “I took interest in food and culture, therapeutic nutrition, as well as food science and research,” said Ms. Williams, sister-in-law of President Peter P. Mercer.

By endowing a scholarship at Ramapo, Ms. Williams hopes to “give students with a passion for the study of food and nutrition the opportunity to further their studies in the field.”  The Madeleine Ehlert Williams Food and Nutrition Scholarship will benefit students who volunteer in organizations that help educate people about food and nutrition or students wishing to travel to other countries to study food and culture.

  • For students wishing to travel abroad to study food and culture preferred
  • For students who have volunteered in organizations that educate people about food and nutrition
  • GPA 3.5+

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2022 Recipient


The recipient of this scholarship wishes to remain anonymous.

2021 Recipient

Giovanna Sokasian

Originally born in New York, Giovanna Sokasian spent most of her life in Florence, Italy. “Going back to school as an adult was not an easy decision,” she says. Giovanna is now a Ramapo student majoring in International Studies and minoring in Anthropology. She has a 4.0 GPA and currently lives in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

While in Italy, Giovanna regularly volunteered to sell home-baked goods at local events to raise funds for organizations that fight against cancer. On campus, she is active in the Italian Club and enjoys taking meditation courses offered by the school. 

“I am glad I forced myself to get over my own insecurities, as I have come to realize in just a short span of years how much education can enrich one’s life,” says Giovanna. After graduating, she plans to pursue a masters degree in International Studies at Rutgers and eventually work for a nonprofit that operates at an international level.

2020 Recipient

Patrice Lenowitz

As Ramapo College’s first Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient and the first Degree Completion Program (DCP) student to study abroad, Patrice Lenowitz received college credits to travel to Cusco, Peru, over the winter 2020 term. There, she studied climate change and the significance of protecting indigenous women farmers. Immersed in Peruvian history, culture and food, she explored the 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, learned salsa in Cusco, and trekked 17,000 feet above sea level to reach the top of Rainbow Mountain.

Outside of school, Patrice has been involved in activities and organizations serving the greater community for over a decade, including founding The Nurtured Parent, a free weekly support group for survivors of domestic abuse. Her passion and leadership have led to new child protection laws and victim’s rights legislation amendments. Her two most recent accomplishments signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy include Erin’s Law, K-12th grade safe touch education that will go into effect for the 2020/2021 academic year, and a landmark victim compensation bill (S498/A3391) that will increase the legal assistance benefit for crime victims from $3,000 to $10,000, paid through the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office beginning August 2020.

As a first-generation graduate of Ramapo College, Patrice is considering law school, for she is determined to create a trauma informed, trauma responsive, and trauma preventative New Jersey.

She is from Woodcliff Lake, N.J. and a Professional Communications major. She has a 3.8 GPA.

2019 Recipient

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer of Monroe, N.Y. is an Accounting Major and an International Business Minor. She has a 3.9 GPA.  In addition to being on the Dean’s List, she is in the ASCSB accredited Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, Omicron Kappa Delta Honors Society for Leadership, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society.

At Ramapo, Marissa has been active in Alpha Phi Omega, the community service fraternity, the Global Roadrunners Club, and the Colleges Against Cancer Club. She plans new fundraising ideas for all three clubs she is involved in. She recently traveled to Peru as part of the International Business Experience and hopes to use her business skills to provide nutrition resources to people in third-world countries.

Marisa volunteers with ESL kids in the East Ramapo Central School District. In addition she is employed as an accounting intern at Andrew Asgar CPA firm in Pearl River, N.Y.

2018 Recipient

Jaime Velazquez

“With my skills, passion, and experience I hope to move forward into a career that will allow me to advocate for the needs of others,” says Psychology major Jaime Velazquez.  Jaime is from North Bergen, N.J.

As part of the Ramapo’s Student Government Association, where he serves as Senate Vice President, Jaime chairs the Student Relief Committee.  “This is an initiative that helps develop ways to help students who are facing issues of food insecurity and other financial circumstances.”

Jaime also works as a Resident Assistant in Mackin Hall and as the Pathways Student Assistant Coordinator in the ASB Cahill Career Development Center.

He has a minor in Criminology and has earned a 3.7 GPA.

2017 Recipient

Kelsey Brentnall

Kelsey Brentnall of Hillsdale, NJ is a biology and art major. She has a 3.96 GPA.  She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key National Honor Societies and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Kelsey is a Peer Facilitator on campus and member of the Ramapo College Honors Program Executive Board.  As part of her work with the Executive Board, she has planned events such as Lunch with a Professor.  “Lunch with a Professor is my favorite event because it allows students to connect with teachers outside of the classroom and talk about anything from sports to books,” said Kelsey.

Off campus, Kelsey teaches oil painting to young adults at the Ridgewood Art Institute. She also studied abroad during a summer semester in Rome, Italy.

“After graduation, I hope to continue empowering and helping others by teaching high school students,” said Kelsey.

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