By: Krista Didzbalis '19
Hayley Lynch is one of three School of Social Work MSW involved in the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics Fellowship program this academic year. This interdisciplinary fellowship allows Rutgers graduate students the opportunity to further their understanding of government, public affairs, and the practice of politics, and connect the fellowship experience to their chosen fields of study.
What about Rutgers SSW peaked your interest?
Growing up I was always interested in having a career related to helping people.
When I was in my undergrad, I wasn't sure exactly where I would end up as far as my career. It was through my public health classes early on in my education that helped me decide to expand my interests into social work. I really liked the idea of working with people, especially in a clinical social work setting. I chose Rutgers because it has such a great name in the state of New Jersey and I love the program here because of the broad variety of courses and the many opportunities available. I especially love the continuing education opportunities available to students-- they're awesome.
Why did you want to be involved in the Eagleton fellowship?
I became Interested in politics in 8th grade. Even though I was so young and didn't even really understand politics, it always stuck with me. Throughout high school I loved talking about politics-- I even enjoyed debating with some of my teachers. It is something I have always been passionate about. Last year, I heard about the Eagleton fellowship program. One of my undergraduate professors encouraged me to apply because it really fit with my interests, so I decided I wanted to be a part of it.
How has your experience with Eagleton been so far ?
I really enjoy the discussions within the fellowship. In my social work classes, we are all in the same program and have similar interests and backgrounds, but in the fellowship class, everyone has a different educational background which has given me a different perspective. Currently, I work with adolescent teens who are experiencing school displacement, mental health disorders, and involvement in the criminal justice system, and I feel as though I can not wholeheartedly work on policy until I truly understand this population's needs. As my career progresses, I'd love to be more involved in policy, as I love exploring how policy is enacted, but I want the clinical experience first. The fellowship program along with my MSW coursework give me good balance between the two.