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.
I am originally from Staten Island, NY, but I have lived in Edison, NJ for 12 years now.
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 were you most excited about in coming to the School and the program? Most nervous about?
Because it had been three years since I graduated college, I was definitely nervous about going back to school, but at the same time, I was really looking forward to being in an educational environment again and achieving my academic goals. I also wondered if I chose the right program, but as I progressed through my first semester, I realized how much I was enjoying it and how much I had learned already, and knew I made the right decision.
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!
List 5 words that friends would use to describe you.
Helpful, loyal, hardworking, compassionate, well-rounded
Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that serves as your persona creed or motto?
Don’t rush through life and forget to appreciate the present and live in the moment! As Andy Bernard says in The Office, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you’ve actually left them”.
And also, life is what you make of it. We all have struggles, but how you face them and overcome them will define you.
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!
What are your plans after graduation?
I would love to continue working with college students as a student counselor/advisor. Ideally, I would like to stay at Rutgers; it’s my alma mater and I have really grown attached to everything about it! Rutgers has a way of pulling you in and not letting you go and I am looking forward to giving back to the school that has given me so many amazing opportunities!
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.