Somerset County, New Jersey, Residents Named Verizon Wireless HopeLine Scholars

MORRISTOWN, NJ — Somerset County residents Rupa Khetarpal and Amanda Mathisen, recently completed studies at Rutgers University School of Social Work where they were named 2008 Verizon Wireless HopeLine® Scholars.

Funded by a $100,000 Verizon Wireless grant, the Verizon Wireless HopeLine Scholarship Fund was created in conjunction with the Center on Violence Against Women & Children to recognize outstanding Rutgers University graduate students enrolled in the Master of Social Work (MSW) specialization on violence against women and children, the first such program in the country. Income generated by the endowment will be used to award scholarships, annually, to at least three students.

Khetarpal, a resident of Basking Ridge, N.J., received the award for her research on "Carrying the Burden of Shame, Rape: A Weapon of War." She also was recognized for her field work as counselor, advocate and educator at the Morris County Prosecutor's Office and Morris County Sexual Assault Center while studying for her Masters at the School of Social Work.

Fellow recipient Amanda Mathisen, of Skillman, N.J., received the award for her research on "Achieving Economic Self-Sufficiency" and her direct work with families and children traumatized by violence in the home.

Khetarpal and Mathisen joined a third scholarship recipient, Kristin Dunne of Pompton Plains, N.J., and Rutgers School of Social Work leaders last month at the Verizon Wireless HopeLine Scholars Colloquium in New Brunswick, N.J., to present the results of their semester-long research.

Rutgers School of Social Work is one of the largest social work programs in the country. This groundbreaking scholarship on violence against women and children will help prepare future social work professionals to work as executives or advocates in domestic violence and sexual assault organizations nationwide.

"We are thrilled that Rupa and Amanda are two of our first ever MSW students to receive these scholarships," said Judy Postmus, director of the Center on Violence against Women & Children at Rutgers School of Social Work. "They will set the standard for other students to learn about and work with survivors of physical and sexual violence."

The Verizon Wireless donation was made possible through the company's HopeLine phone recycling program, which collects no-longer-used wireless phones at its Communications Stores throughout New Jersey and nationwide. The phones are refurbished, recycled or sold and the proceeds are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Phones that cannot be refurbished are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

Verizon Wireless was the first wireless carrier in the nation to collect and recycle old cellphones and has done so since January 1999, first in New Jersey and then across the U.S. Nationally, the HopeLine program has collected more than 4.5 million wireless phones and given nearly $5 million in cash grants to domestic violence prevention organizations.

In addition to a successful phone recycling program and funding for non-profit domestic violence prevention organizations, HopeLine includes free wireless service and voice mailboxes for survivors, community and corporate awareness initiatives, and a bilingual "Invest in Yourself" program designed to help survivors re-enter the workforce. HopeLine phone donations also are accepted at all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in New Jersey and across the nation. For store locations and additional information, visit

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 67.2 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at

About Rutgers University, School of Social Work and the Center on Violence Against Women & ChildrenRutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the premier public university of New Jersey and one of the oldest and most highly regarded institutions of higher education in the nation. With nearly 50,000 students and over 9,000 faculty and staff on its three campuses in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick, Rutgers is a vibrant academic community committed to the highest standards of teaching, research, and service. Established in 1954, the School of Social Work has a distinguished record of instruction, research, and public service. Classes were first offered during the Depression to meet the state's need for social workers. Today, the school offers undergraduate and graduate-professional degree programs, holds classes on Rutgers' three regional campuses, and is affiliated with more than 800 social service agencies throughout the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. The mission of the Center on Violence against Women & Children is to strive to eliminate physical, sexual, and other forms of violence against women and children and the power imbalances that permit them. This mission will be accomplished through the use of a collaborative approach that focuses on multidisciplinary research, education, and training that impacts communities and policy in New Jersey, the U.S., and throughout the world. The Center on Violence against Women & Children is part of Rutgers University, School of Social Work, and the Institute for Families. For more information, please visit