(MAHWAH, NJ) -- Ramapo College student Robert Ciarletta ‘24, of Park Ridge, NJ, has received statewide prestige for his undergraduate research and scholarship on the American Revolution. Ciarletta was recently awarded the Arlene Gardner Distinguished Scholar Award by the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies. Ciarletta’s research was sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission for the semiquincentennial anniversary of the American Revolution.
“Robert was the only college student selected to participate in this research,” said Aaron Lorenz, dean of the School of Social Science and Human Services at Ramapo College. “Robert got to experience the Ramapo College promise–he engaged in hands-on learning and had a most unique opportunity as an undergraduate student to contribute meaningfully to a field of research. Robert adeptly collaborated with various scholars and groups from across the region and was also empowered to showcase his research skills. His skills are that of an accomplished researcher and he is now equipped to publish this work and certainly future work.”
“Getting recognized as a distinguished scholar is special for me since I feel it is important to also be a learner outside of the classroom and always seek new opportunities to learn,” said Ciarletta, who is majoring in elementary education. “As a future teacher, I am also inspired by Arlene Gardner’s contributions to civics and social studies education in New Jersey. I agree that we need to educate people on what it means to be involved citizens and care about our communities. I believe part of that knowledge comes from knowing your local and state history.”
Ciarletta’s contributions included researching primary sources on John Hunt, the role of Quakers in Burlington County to free the enslaved, producing a documentary video, and publishing an article. His research “Reflections on the 1770’s: Diaries of the New Jersey Quakers” focuses on understanding the historical lived experiences of NJ Quakers. Ciarletta found that “their accounts of the war show how universal it is to feel unsettled and confused in response to major changes in life, like the impact of COVID most recently on our lives. I find it intriguing that when the war erupted, the Quakers’ first impulse was to write, reflect, and think of their faith in the situation. These people wrote daily to keep track of their lives and think inwardly. They inspire me to be more thoughtful about my own life and see how each day can amount to something greater.”
Ciarletta is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Ramapo College in elementary education with a minor in English and literary studies. He is involved in a number of activities at the College including the Ramapo College tennis team, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Kappa Delta Pi, and indoor soccer club.
Ciarletta said he “wholeheartedly recommends other students apply to be part of this project. This project is the kind of experience where you get to be a historian, storyteller, educator, and creator all at once!” Students can learn more about the project and how to get involved at njcss.org.