Girl Planting seeds

HackensackUMC Celebrates 23rd Annual Medical and Dental Staff Scholarship Ceremony

July 15, 2013 08:53 AM


Hackensack University Medical Center hosted its 23rd Annual Medical and Dental Staff Scholarship Ceremony on Wednesday, June 12. At the ceremony, 10 $3,000 scholarships were awarded. This year, one scholarship was awarded to an employee and nine of the scholarships were awarded to the children of non-physician employees in the pursuit of educational achievement and excellence. The scholarships are funded through the Medical/Dental Staff of HackensackUMC.

“Hackensack University Medical Center places a premium on academic achievement, and we take great pleasure in rewarding those individuals who, through their hard work and dedication, have distinguished themselves and shown great potential for excellence in their field,” said Paul Kovatis, M.D., president of the Medical/Dental Staff at HackensackUMC. “I am confident that these award winners will go on to do great things, and am proud that HackensackUMC was able to play a small part in supporting their academic and professional development.”

Scholarship awardees were determined by a three-person selection committee consisting of Justice Marie Garibaldi, Thomas Quirico, Esq., and Stephen Baker, M.D., chairman, Department of Radiology, UMDNJ-Medical School. Dr. Kovatis introduced each of the physician honorees with brief anecdotes and spoke of the various achievements of each of the scholarship winners. He then called them to the podium where the physician honorees presented the scholarship awards to each winner.

Awards and recipients are as follows:

Chelsea-ann McKenzie is the recipient of The Lisa K. Tank, M.D. Scholarship. Chelsea-Ann is a graduating senior who has maintained a 4.0 GPA over four years while taking honors Calculus, AP English Literature and Composition, and many other honors courses. She is the president of the Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda chapter, treasurer of the National Spanish Honor Society - Salvador Dali chapter, and four-year member of Hackensack High School’s Gold Honor Roll. Chelsea-ann will attend York University in the fall and pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. In the future, she plans on becoming a human rights lawyer and hopes to work with the ACLU. Chelsea-ann’s mother, Angella Edwards, is an ambulatory registrar in the Finance Department.

Christy McCann is the recipient of The Paul Kovatis, M.D. Scholarship. Christy is a graduating senior from Hasbrouck Heights High School, and has spent 14 years studying and performing dance for Edie’s Dance Factory in Wood-Ridge, N.J. For the last nine years she has been dancing competitively and performing for various charitable organizations including Mickey’s Kids, Breast Cancer Awareness, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Juvenile Diabetes, and the Meadowlands Hospital Christmas Show. Christie is a member of the National Honor Society, and has taken several honors and AP classes. In the fall, she will attend The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, majoring in Dance/Pre-Physical Therapy.

Danielle DiBenedetto is the recipient of The Hooman Azmi-Ghadimi, M.D. Scholarship. Danielle is a high school senior graduating from Hackensack Christian School. She has participated in many school activities, both academic and athletic, and was elected as the Student Council president. Her extracurricular activities include volunteering at HackensackUMC, where she was awarded the President’s Award for Volunteer Service – Gold Level for more than 370 hours of service. Danielle has kept academics as a priority and has been a member of the Honor Society since the tenth grade. She has a great interest in Speech Therapy and will major in biology at Montclair State University in the fall. Danielle’s mother, Rose DiBenedetto, is the manager of Vascular Services in the Vascular Lab and is a 17-year employee at the medical center.

Derron Jones is the recipient of The Edward Yamin, M.D. Scholarship. He is a graduating senior at Teaneck High School, where this year he maintained a 4.0 GPA and was recognized on the Gold Honor Roll. He has achieved Honor Roll every year and is a member of the football team and the art team. Derron is a volunteer at HackensackUMC, and will attend Mercy College in the fall. His mother, Iveliz Hernandez-Jones, is a medical assistant in Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric ENT.

Dominique Zaugg is the recipient of The Michael Rosenberg, M.D. Scholarship. She is a graduating senior at Pope John XXIII Regional High School, where she was co-director of the school’s daily news show, “The Roar” which reports on national and local news, entertainment and sports stories, and raising awareness for fundraising and volunteering opportunities within the school. Dominique participated in her high school’s Kiwanis Educate Youth program promoting food drives and caroling in local retirement homes, and is a member of the Leadership Council which fosters harmonious relations between the student body and the faculty/administration. She was a volunteer at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick, NY, and will be attending Fordham University in the fall. Dominique’s mother, Karen Zaugg , is an R.N. in the Department of Patient Care and has been employed at HackensackUMC for 23 years.

Eric Benoit is the recipient of The Gregory J. Gallina, M.D. Scholarship. He is a sophomore at Middlebury College in pursuit of a double major in Economics and English & American Literature. Eric was honored as a “College Scholar” (the college’s highest academic honor) and was selected as an orientation leader for the incoming class of 2017. In addition to his academic interests, Eric pursues his love of vocal music by singing in the Middlebury Mamajamas, a highly competitive co-educational a capella singing group, and the Middlebury College Choir. He arranges popular music for the Mamajamas and was elected as the group’s musical director for the 2013-2014 academic year. Eric’s mother, Nadine Benoit, is the Geriatrics HELP program coordinator. She has been an employee at HackensackUMC for 5½ years.

Eva Krynski is the recipient of The Patrick J. Toth, M.D. Scholarship. Eva has been an employee at HackensackUMC for the past 16 years. She is a Clinical Level III nurse in the Reuten Clinic for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and is working on an Evidence-Based Practice project to qualify for Clinical Level IV. She is a member of the hospital Pediatric Professional Practice Council, and has been part of the pediatric oncology Beacon chemotherapy protocol building team for the past two years. In 2008, she was granted Jean Fergusson Excellence in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing Practice Award from the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses, and in 2009, she earned the Nursing Excellence Award for Pediatric Outpatient Services at HackensackUMC. Currently, she is pursuing her MSN degree in clinical information systems at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Heather Wolf is the recipient of The Raphael Longobardi, M.D. Scholarship. Heather is a sophomore honors student at Wagner College where she studies Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. Heather is also a resident assistant and a Division I varsity athlete on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She has a passion for television and film in NYC and has appeared as guest characters on several popular TV shows. Heather hopes to use her marketing and business skills to work in development for a medical foundation or in the marketing department at a hospital. Heather is the daughter of Robin and Rodger Wolf. Robin Wolf has worked as a genetic counselor for 29 years at HackensackUMC.

Martin Flores is the recipient of The Sarita Rastogi, M.D. Scholarship. Martin is an Industrial Design student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has recently been accepted into the American Design Club, and has had his work displayed at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City. When not designing, he enjoys traveling and hiking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his family, two dogs, and a cat. Martin’s father, Pedro Flores, is an assistant manager in the department of Nutrition and Food Management.

Matthew Gordon is the recipient of The Emanuele Santomauro, M.D. Scholarship. Matthew is a rising pre-med sophomore at Lehigh University pursuing a major in Molecular Biology and a minor in philosophy. He is a Dean’s scholarship recipient and is an active member of Phi Sigma Pi, a national honor fraternity that specializes in community service. Matthew has also been accepted in the orientation leadership program at Lehigh University where he will guide incoming freshman through their transition this fall. Matthew has a passion for biology and a strong work ethic. He is extremely proud to be part of the Careers in Medicine Program at HackensackUMC  this summer, and hopes one day to become a physician. Matthew’s father, Lee Gordon, is the director of Budget and Reimbursement in the Finance Department.


About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. It is the flagship hospital of the Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,140 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,200 credentialed physicians.HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey and one of the top four New York metro area hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report, and has received nine national rankings in: Cancer; Cardiology & Heart Surgery; Ear, Nose & Throat; Gastroenterology; Geriatrics; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; Urology; and the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital ranked as one of the Top 50 Best Children’s Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospitals list. HackensackUMC is among Healthgrades® America’s Best 100 Hospitals in 10 different areas – more than any other hospital in the nation, is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for seven years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 11 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 19 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls, and remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit:   




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