By Sophia Vega
Social workers navigate between systems to provide the assistance and support to their clients and community-- this is why you can find them involved and engaged throughout so many places in life. For MSW student, Marleina Ubel, she has taken social work directly to policymaking and advocacy.
In the weeks before the fall semester, Ubel was named a 2020-21 Kathleen Crotty Fellow through the New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) and as a Fellow for Eagleton Institute for Politics at Rutgers. She sees this achievement as an opportunity to view and interact with the legislative process from two vantage points.
As a NJPP Crotty Fellow, Ubel will work at the beginning and end of the policymaking process- researching new and future policies, and evaluating active policies to understand their effectiveness. At Eagleton, Ubel will work in the Assembly Majority Office of the New Jersey State Legislature where policymaking occurs and experiencing the main stage of the process.
"NJPP was very generous in wanting to make sure that I will be doing work that I am passionate about. So, I will be able to devote some of my time there to inequality and disparate policy impacts on minority and low-income communities," says Ubel.
Ubel is a Puerto Rican native and first-generation college student. She says this feeds her dedication to understanding the history of oppression in professional and academic spaces. Before enrolling at Rutgers SSW as a Management and Policy (MAP) student, Ubel earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"To me, social work and policy are a beautiful marriage of theory, practice, and advocacy," Ubel explained. "Social workers belong in spaces where policies are being made. Social workers belong in public office. I think people often have misconceptions about what social workers are capable of or qualified to do. I think that social workers are uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between policymakers and the communities that are often left out of spaces where decisions that directly impact them are being made."