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2020-23 Staff Council Members

2020-23 Leadership Structure

  • Chair | Samantha Michaele
  • Vice-Chair | Nicole Oceanak


  • Communications | Khalid Balgar, Bijal Jobanputra (Lead)
    • Ensures the staff community has accessible, transparent, and open communication from the School of Social Work and central University. The communication sub-group also shares and elevates the accomplishments and strength of our staff community.
  • Community Engagement | Ciji Carr, Kathleen Gilbert, Bijal Jobanputra, Nicole Oceanak (Lead), Simone Snyder
    • Bridges the connections between internal and external SSW audiences through staff engagement, feedback collection, and designing initiatives to foster a more transparent, inclusive, and unified community.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Ciji Carr, Samantha Michaele, Nicole Oceanak
    • Facilitates the engagement of each member of the SSW Staff community around the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion acting as a voice for all staff in support of a constantly learning environment that appreciates the dignity and uniqueness of each member of our community, encourages constant conversations to increase awareness and understanding, and works to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to achieve their goals.
  • Strategic Planning | Samantha Michaele, Nicole Oceanak
    • Works to ensure the activities of the SSW Staff Council are in alignment with the SSW Strategic Plan.

Samantha Michaele, Chair | As Director of Business Services, I am proud to be a part of SSW’s world class staff and support an organization that is such a critical lifeline to people in NJ, the country, and our world. I know we all hold a unique and important place in the structure of SSW and I am honored to represent our staff body on the council. The experience I have serving on University committees and knowledge I hold of our systems, policies, and overall operations would help support vital conversations that will fuel change and impact our future at the School of Social Work. Subgroup: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Strategic Plan

Nicole Oceanak, Vice Chair | Nicole joined the Rutgers community in 2011 and the School of Social Work as a staff member in 2014. Beginning with her role at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children, Nicole learned how the research side is operated and how vital staff are in those settings. In her current role (Senior Program Coordinator-Online/Blended programs), she works alongside SSW field staff and faculty, community partners, and school of social work programs across the country. Nicole believes it is so important for mixed-level staff representation at the school to ensure all our voices are being heard and that there are opportunities for staff growth and recognition. ​Subgroup: Community Engagement; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Strategic Plan

Khalid BalgarKhalid joined IFF in December 2018 as an Instructional Designer for NJCSI. He brings to this role more than eleven years of experience in the Information Technology field, including technical documentation, web development, online instructional development, training materials development, computerized application support, and multimedia production. Before joining IFF, Khalid worked in several industries that rely on technology, including pharmaceuticals and sales, where he oversaw the production of online compliance training materials for various clients. While working in the pharmaceutical industry, Khalid discovered his interest in videography, which includes instructional online videos, web series, and webinars. Khalid holds a BS degree in Computer Information Systems from Buffalo State College.

Ciji Carr-McManusMy name is Ciji Carr-McManus and I work for the Learning and Development Team at the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI) with the Institute for Families (IFF). I am honored to receive nominations for the SSW Staff Council. The implementation of the Strategic Plan is a very important and progressive step. Some have read my call to action letter submitted this spring, however; my passion towards equal justice and serving my community extends far beyond this year. Through my crusades of activism and community service, I have received an NAACP; Notable Woman of New Jersey; and Public Service award. Having a seat at this council, will help me continue fighting towards equality. ​Subgroup: Community Engagement; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Kathleen GilbertI am a Business Specialist working in the Business Services Unit of SSW. Having been a member of the School of Social Work for 7 years, spending the majority of that time working with the Institute for Families and the past two years with Business Services. I feel now, more than ever, it is important to be involved in educating and training both myself and others in the critical matters relating to social and economic justice. The Staff Council has done an excellent job of this, and I would consider it an honor to work towards furthering their mission.

Bijal JobanputraI am a proud alumnus of Rutgers (BA Psychology). I began working with the SSW family in 2009 and have the pleasure of working with various departments. I provide support to Field Education, BASW, Faculty/PTLs, MSW Student Affairs, assist with event planning on the Camden campus, and support various entities. I am honored to represent and advocate for everyone and believe having a diverse experience will help me serve as a well-rounded representative. My experience will help to advocate the needs of our Staff, sustain and foster open communication with the Dean’s office, and take part in making a satisfying work environment within our diverse population on all three campuses. Subgroup: Communications; Community Engagement

Simone SnyderSimone Snyder is a Senior Program Coordinator at the Rutgers School of Social Work’s Center for Research on Ending Violence. In this position she manages the “Enhancing Victim Services Throughout Rutgers University” project. Simone is also a Part-Time Lecturer, Doula and Homebirth Midwifery Assistant. Simone began her journey to social work as a dating violence prevention educator and has also worked as a hospital domestic violence response team coordinator. She has spent the last 10+ years training on topics related to reproductive justice, maternal health, and interpersonal violence. Simone received her MSW with a Certificate in Violence Against Women and Children and obtained her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Gender Studies from New York University. Simone was also recently selected by UN Women to serve as an Ending Violence Against Women Expert. She is passionate about macro social work education, food justice, community-based food projects and the ways in which green spaces such as community gardens can be utilized as tools for violence prevention, education, and for building community resilience. Simone has been at REV since 2018 but has been a part of the school of social work since she began her MSW program in 2015. She loves it so much she has just committed to another three years in the DSW program.

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