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Meet our MSW Students!

     Hina Rehman

Can you share a brief bio regarding your education and professional background?
I’m a third year MSW student in my final semester of the program. I graduated from Rutgers in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I started the Blended MSW program in the fall of 2015, which is a hybrid program that typically spans three years. I’ve interned as an undergraduate advisor, taught a seminar for transfer students, and served as an advisor for students who were struggling academically, all of which were very enriching experiences and gave me insight into my future career trajectory. Currently, I work as a graduate research assistant at the Institute for Families, and my field placement is at the Rutgers Office of Disability Services.

I am the current graduate student representative for NASW-NJ and the nontraditional student representative for the Rutgers School of Social Work Graduate Student Association. My interests lie in the higher education field and I thoroughly enjoy working with college students and helping to improve the student experience. Ideally, I would like to work as a student advisor/counselor after I graduate.

What drew you to Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program?
I took some time off after college to figure out what I wanted to do. At that point, I didn’t know a degree in social work even existed! Over the next few years, I kept doing research and looking into different programs, but social work really stuck out to me. One of the things I love most about the program and the field of social work is how vast it is. You can go into clinical work, management and policy, administration, counseling, etc., and I love knowing that I have that flexibility after I graduate.

What are your areas of research or professional interest and what personally drew you to this particular area?
Through my internships, I realized I have a passion for working with college students. I did my first year of fieldwork with the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences advising center, working with undergraduate students and learning from some of the best academic advisors/deans. I am currently working with the Disability Services office at Rutgers, where I have been working on more administrative projects, while continuing to meet/interact with students on a daily basis. I love helping students and working with such a diverse and unique population!

How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life?
I’d like to say I have a foolproof plan laid out months in advance, but really, it’s about taking it one day at a time! Sometimes, it can feel a little overwhelming and that is when I take a step back, look at all the tasks I have to do and prioritize them. It helps a lot to just take a few minutes and re-arrange things in your mind. Also, take care of yourself! It may not seem like much, but taking out a little time each day to do something you love or spending time with friends/family can make a huge difference and prevent burnout!

Any advice for incoming students? 

  • Being nervous is a good thing, so don’t let it prevent you from going after your goals.
  • Use the resources you are given if you find yourself struggling because there is no shame in asking for help.
  • Learn how to effectively manage your time and take care of yourself in the process
  • Always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, because it is easy to get buried under piles of work. If this happens and you feel overwhelmed, just remind yourself why you began this program and what you want to achieve at the end of it.

 

      Elisheva Davidoff

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Morristown, NJ as the youngest of 5 children. I attended public school (except for a one-year stint in a Vermont boarding school) and spent two and a half years at St John’s College in Maryland, studying philosophy and history of Western thought. I transferred to Evergreen State College in Washington for my last year of college so I could focus on writing and American history. During and after my undergraduate years I spent time living and working on organic farms in Arizona, Maryland, Hawaii, and North Carolina. In between my BA and entering the MSW program, I started a virtual assistance business and worked in a youth shelter. I used my free time to get trained and certified as a municipal firefighter, a forest firefighter, and an EMT. I was one of two female firefighters in my training program, the only female firefighter in my town, and one of a handful in the NJ Forest Fire Service. An injury ended my first responder career prematurely, but ended up leading me to the MSW program. I currently am a second year MAP student in the VAWC certificate program. My fieldwork is with the Executive Board of Fatality Review with the NJ Department of Children and Families, and I am a 2017-18 Eagleton Fellow. I also serve as the Community Liaison for the SSW Student Government Association. I spend my free time volunteering with CASA of Morris County, reading, and spending time with my family and fiancé.

What drew you to Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program?

My mother completed her Master's degree at Rutgers a few years ago and had a wonderful experience. I knew a few social worker colleagues who had attended Rutgers and told me it was a great program. I was also attracted to the prospect of going to a state school with campuses close to my home. The cincher for me was the affordability and practicality of the program. Every other program I looked at was nearly twice as much in tuition.

What are your areas of research or professional interest and what personally drew you to this particular area?

I was initially planning on going to school for forensic psychology, but decided social work was more practical in terms of getting a job. Fortunately, I have been able to focus my social work studies on forensic social work and victim advocacy so I feel like I ended up getting the best of both worlds.

How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life?

I have to be honest with myself about how much I can take on at any given moment. I am the kind of person who really enjoys pushing myself to my limits in terms of time, but I have had to learn how to create limits, prioritize, and make time for myself.  On a more pragmatic level, I am fanatical about keeping a calendar and keeping an ongoing to-do list to keep me on track.

Any advice for incoming students?

  • Don’t expect to know everything your first semester. The first semester is the hardest because of the workload but also because of the learning curve when it comes to academic writing, studying, etc.
  • Talk to as many people as possible and make as many connections as you can. Everyone has words of wisdom and can help you in some way (and in the future you can pay it forward). Meet with the dean, professors, professionals at the school, and stay in touch!
  • Take advantage of interdisciplinary programs and lectures on campus such as the law school lectures and Eagleton events. Take a class with another school if possible.
  •  Really use winter breaks to rest. Also, if you have the ability, take a summer class to lighten your load second year.

      Simone Snyder

Can you share a brief bio regarding your education and professional background?

I studied anthropology and gender studies at New York University and spent many years working as a doula and midwifery assistant (among other things). It is my work as a doula that led me to working in the field of violence against women. I found that many of the women I was working with over the years had experienced some form of violence in their lives.  It became quite clear that their experiences as survivors was impacting their pregnancies and especially their labors. I began volunteering at domestic violence agencies and rape crisis centers to better understand what they were experiencing. What finally pushed me to apply to the MSW program was my experience working as a dating violence prevention educator at Jersey Battered Women’s Service. Based on my interest in the field of violence against women I knew that the Rutgers School of Social Work program was the only choice for me.

What were you most excited about in coming to the School and the program? Most nervous about?

I love being in school so I was really excited for the work but I am considered “non-traditional student” because I completed my undergraduate degree in 2002 so I was mainly nervous about my writing skills. I was worried that my writing was a tad bit rusty. One of the first things I did as a new student was set up an appointment at the writing center and met with the Research Librarian to brush up on my research skills as well.

How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life?

I knew when I applied to the program that I would have to perfect my time management skills. Not only do I work, volunteer, and attend school, I am the mother of 2 and foster mother of 1 – so it was very important to be mindful of balancing my time right from the beginning. I set aside specific days dedicated to studying (usually while the kids are at school) and write myself a lot of reminders and “to-do” lists. I think the fact that I am a mother and have already spent many years juggling work life, family life, and on-call doula life gave me a significant advantage. I get teased sometimes for starting and/or completing work way too early but I have to use the available time I have – sometimes managing my time means looking ahead and planning way in advance. You just have to plan and then plan some more!

Any advice for incoming students?

  • Connect early and often with your fellow students, get as involved as you can, ask for help, and utilize the resources available to you.

 

      Jayna Jones

Can you share a brief bio regarding your education and professional background?

Jayna Marie Jones graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. After 7 years in theater, she went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Violence Against Women and Children concentration from Rutgers University. Additionally, Jayna Marie was the recipient of the 2017 VAWC Verizon Wireless HopeLine Scholarship and inducted into Phi Alpha Honors Fraternity. While obtaining her degree, Jayna Marie interned at an all-female substance use and mental health facility in Harlem, NY, and a permanent supportive housing complex for domestic violence survivors in Bronx, NY before transitioning to a full time credentialed position in an out-patient social service agency for domestic violence survivors in Brownsville, NY.

What drew you to Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program?

I appreciated the flexibility of Rutgers’ online program; between work, volunteering, and my family, it made more sense to engage in online course work. Also, I’m currently located in New Jersey and wanted an accessible campus if programs or events became available.

How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life?

Balancing school, volunteering, work, and home was a challenge. I spent many early mornings, late nights, and weekends studying and finishing assignments. The whole process wouldn’t have been possible without my supportive husband, friends, and family. Going back to school is difficult, and it’s something that I had to think about to decide if it was the right time, and whether we were financially stable enough for me to go. My husband was immensely supportive; listening to me dither on about the impact of trauma on the brain, or rant about my frustrations with my internship, he was there for all of it. Ultimately, balance happened for me by having a strong support system, keeping organized, and a willingness to miss out on a few hours of sleep.

Any advice for incoming students?

  • The best advice I can give is to find time for joy and celebrate the wins during school. Social work is an emotionally taxing field and it can be difficult to not feel overwhelmed, especially during grad school. Carve out some time to do something that lifts your spirit, as well as be proud of the times where you feel you succeeded with a client or in a class. 

 

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