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Student Spotlight: Bobbi-Jo Taylor
March 28, 2018
Can you share a brief bio regarding your education and professional background? 
I graduated from Stockton College in 2000 with a BA degree in Sociology/Anthropology (with a minor in Women’s Studies).  While going to school I worked part-time for a mental health agency gaining experience in a children’s partial care, providing individual respite, and assisting with a psychoeducation group for family with mentally ill members.  I began my career at Cape May County Social Services in the Fall of 2000, as a county welfare agency eligibility worker.  Within the first few years of employment I was promoted to the civil service title of Social Worker, and in 2010, to Social Work Supervisor.  In 2014, I was promoted to my current position of Administrative Supervisor of Social Work.  In 2003, I completed the basic worker training through Rutgers to be certified in Adult Protective Services.  This past February I completed the 40-hour New Jersey Crisis Intervention Team certification geared at bringing together law enforcement and other community partners for more effective response to individuals having a mental health crisis.  While in the MSW program, my field experience has given me exposure to mental health services in a correctional setting, as well as co-occurring treatment in an outpatient setting. 
       

Hometown? 
Wildwood, NJ

 

What drew you to Rutgers School of Social Work’s MSW program? 
I tend to think of my promotion to management as getting ahead of my education.  While obtaining my MSW had been a long-term goal, my promotion to administrator propelled that goal by the desire to better equip myself for my position.  Rutgers’ reputation and non-traditional Intensive Weekend Program is what drew me to the school.  
 
 
What were you most excited about in coming to the School and the program? Most nervous about?  
I was most excited about the opportunity for professional growth.  I was most nervous about the time commitment and the challenge it would be in managing all of my responsibilities.  
 
 
 What are your areas of research or professional interest and what personally drew you to this particular area?  
Areas of professional interest include: mental health, elder justice, and strategic planning.  I have a brother who is 16 years my elder who has been diagnosed with serious mental illness since his early twenties.  Growing up with his experiences in my periphery has given me a great sensitivity for mental health issues.  In 2003, I became certified in Adult Protective Services and developed a great passion for the work of investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults.  My current position as an agency administrator has led to a path of work on the mezzo level; while at times I miss the direct client interaction, my current position allows me to have a greater impact on a greater amount of people.  Management has provided new challenges in my career, consequently topics such as strategic and succession planning have been at the forefront of my professional interests.      
 
 
List 5 words that friends would use to describe you.  
I polled social media and some of the words I got were: loyal, compassionate, dedicated, consistent, and practical.  
 
 
Do you have a favorite quote or phrase that serves as your persona creed or motto?  
What comes to mind is something my mom would say, “Everybody’s got problems.”  I think it is important to remember that everyone has some kind of life struggle, and with that, be kind and gracious to others.    
 
 
 
How do you manage balancing your time with schoolwork, volunteer work, and job and/or home life? 
It has been difficult at times but one strategy has been prioritizing according to deadlines in the different spheres of my life.  I have had to scale back in some of my volunteer activities and church participation in order to keep up with other demands.  Some work hours have been flexible in accommodating my internship hours and having the ability to remote into my work computer to keep up with emails has been helpful.  When possible I have planned school weekends and writing papers around the time that my son is with his other parent.    
 
 
What are your plans after graduation?
I recently got engaged, so my graduation plans include wedding planning! 
 
 
Any advice for incoming students?  
In regards to the Intensive Weekend Program, it lives up to its name so be prepared to shift life priorities, and take off Mondays following a school weekend if possible!  Despite the intensity, it is a doable way for working professionals to earn their Master of Social Work and is well worth the gratification at the finish line.  

 

Additional comments on the IW program: The best part of the design of the IW program is the cohort structure.  It fosters the development of strong relationships that help carry you through the program.  My cohort created a private Facebook group that served as our own sounding board and support group.  One student in my cohort bakes as a hobby and gives us sweets monthly to look forward to on our Sunday class.  We celebrated “Classgiving” at our November meetings complete with turkey and all the trimmings, and invented other reasons for potluck lunches.  I experienced the death of my mother last year the Friday before a class weekend.  Professor Lange was amazing in making arrangements to meet with me at a later time to make up the time I missed in class, and my cohort sent me homemade cookies and a heartfelt sympathy card and gift certificate to a restaurant in my hometown to ensure I took time for some self-care.  We have had two engagements and celebrated the birth of a baby in our time together.  I am blessed and grateful to have shared my MSW experience with Mays Landing Cohort 5! 
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