The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) partners with Rutgers University School of Social Work to place social work student interns in local branches to assist Somerset County residents who are in need of social services.

“I am thrilled to host not one, but two brilliant interns at the Somerville branch,” said Jen Sulligan, Somerville branch manager. “Anisa and Dominique are both learning and making great connections within the community. They introduce themselves and promote their work to local partners and the businesses downtown. Together they are getting word out about the Household Goods Drive that Anisa planned to benefit the residents of Somerville Senior Housing. In fact, during one of their ‘on the beat’ days walking downtown to hang their flyers, they came across a beautiful display in the Starbucks, collecting items for the drive. Somerville is a caring community; I am happy that Anisa and Dominique will have the experience of completing their internships here.”

SCLSNJ social work interns are available to connect residents with social services agencies and resources throughout Somerset County.

“The support I, and my colleagues, offer is connecting residents with many different resources and agencies all over the county for a plethora of reasons,” said Ashley McDowell. “This could include, legal and immigration assistance, food insecurity, mental health services, substance abuse services, housing, support groups, seniors and veteran services, and services for people with disabilities.”

Appointments with a social work intern are available in-person at an SCLSNJ location, by phone, or by virtual meeting.

Meet Our Social Work Interns

Anisa Ali

Anisa Ali; Located at the Somerville branch

What inspired you to become a social worker?
Social work was something that I was introduced to when I started college. I grew up volunteering and had the lovely experience of my mom working for a nonprofit organization for a chunk of my life. The impact of having a parent who worked for a nonprofit organization likely exposed me to the values and importance of community service from a young age. 

Why do your internship at the Library?
The library is a great place to learn and grow. Having the ability to access local resources and the ability to learn about the community builds a special connection with the patrons and your town. The library holds so much more than just books and printers when you dig deep enough. Interning at the library has not only taught me that programs extend to all walks of life and have the ability to embrace growth and strength through programming, education, digital literacy, and community-building which is why the library internship drew me in. I hope to accomplish a deeper understanding of community building and the access to free and available resources; firmly believing that creating a space where everyone can grow and thrive is the most welcoming and diverse way to bring about positive change at both personal and community levels.

What is your favorite library item?
One of my favorite aspects of the library experience is borrowing books and discovering what’s new and on the horizon. I’m particularly fond of perusing the librarian recommended selections. Although I enjoy a wide range of books, I have a special interest in murder mysteries.

Dominique Daniels

Dominique Daniels; Located at the Somerville branch

What inspired you to become a social worker?
I wanted to become a social worker because there was always a part of me that loved helping people. I’ve been working with children my whole life and I truly enjoy interacting and helping others. I took Intro to Social Work on a whim during my first semester at RVCC and I immediately felt a connection. I knew I wanted to help people on a broader scale and help those who are fighting injustices.

Why do your internship at the Library?
I decided to do my internship at the library because of all the wonderful resources they have for community members. As a kid, I always saw the library as a place for books. Today, the library has completely evolved into so much more with offering different programs for all age groups while advocating for immigrants by connecting them to resources. Meeting new people, connecting people to resources, and learning about community needs is what I hope to achieve during my time with the library. I look forward to helping people in the best way I can by attending outreach events to promote the library and their services. I want to become more familiar with the resources offered in the community so I can better help the customers who come to me looking for assistance.

What is your favorite library item?
I recently read “The Judge’s List” by John Grisham and I enjoyed it! My favorite genres are mystery, thriller, and drama fiction. 

Ashley McDowell

Ashley McDowell; Located at the Manville branch

What inspired you to become a social worker?
I grew up in a town that now has a serious substance abuse problem. When I was in high school, the problem started becoming an issue and now many of the people I was friends with have overdosed or continue to battle addiction. So, essentially, I am doing this for my small town, and to show my children, (and all the children I work with), that it is okay to not follow the crowd and fall for peer pressure. The world needs social workers now more than ever, especially with the opioid epidemic going on.  

Why do your internship at the Library?
I love doing my internship here at SCLSNJ because it is not just one field of study I am working in, it is a mixed bag. One day I could be working with a client who needs help finding resources for mental health care, and the next day, a client could come to me in need of resources for childcare. Each day is new and the library has opened my eyes to so many different ways I could help potential clients. I hope to set up some kind of harm reduction station at the Manville branch.

What is your favorite library item?
My favorite genre is gothic literature. I really have a thing for Edgar Allan Poe. He is my favorite author. I actually collect books of his works that I find look cool and put them on a special shelf in my game room. My favorite library resource would have to be the hotspots. Often, people are unable to get to the library to access public computers and Wi-Fi.  We are giving kids the ability to do their homework and adults to apply for jobs, all from the comfort of their own home. Also, many people, especially in our community, are unable to afford internet access and the hotspot program opens the door for much needed change in Manville. I feel that because of this program more people will be able to keep up with our ever evolving technological world.

Carita Ng

Carita Ng; Located at the North Plainfield branch

What inspired you to become a social worker?
I wanted to be a social worker to assist individuals in need. I believe what compelled me to become a social worker derived from my past work experience working at the YMCA where I gained the opportunity to interact and assist members of my community. Nonetheless, social work allows one to find solutions for any individuals who may be facing a challenge and help make their daily lives easier. 

Why do your internship at the Library?
I believe completing my internship in the library is a great way to meet and interact with the community. Here at the library, one has the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse community full of students, residents, workers who all come from different paths of life. With my time here, I hope to get to know the members of North Plainfield and be of assistance to any community members who need or request it. 

What is your favorite library item?
My favorite book is “Never Lie” by Freida McFadden. Not to reveal any spoilers, but the book’s genre is a thriller. The book takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with twists and turns to the ending.

For additional assistance, call (908) 458-8435 x2384 or email interns@sclibnj.org. Learn more about SCLSNJ’s social work intern program: sclsnj.org/using-our-libraries/social-services-support. To discover all SCLSNJ has to offer, visit SCLSNJ.org or connect with SCLSNJ on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), or YouTube.