Sejal Mehta, MSW ’22, Spearheads IG Live Series on Exploring Your Role in Social Change
As a summer Graduate Student Assistant in NYU Silver’s Office of Career & Professional Development (CPD), Sejal Mehta, MSW ’22, developed a bi-weekly, Instagram Live “Silver Social Change Series” to kick off the Fall 2021 semester. Based on Deepa Iyer’s Social Change Ecosystem Map, which Sejal came across in summer 2020, the series will help students identify their strengths and values and how they influence the roles they play in the pursuit of social justice.
Sejal is partnering on the project with Michelle Escamilla, MSW ’22, the Graduate Assistant/MSW Intern in our Office of Inclusive Engagement and Student Life (IESL). Each Wednesday and Thursday in September at 5:30 pm ET, Sejal and Michelle will hold live, 20-25 minute conversations at @NYUSilverCPD with students and professors about how they show up in one of the ten roles outlined by the Social Change Ecosystem Map. At the conclusion of the series, on October 1, 2021 at 11:00 am ET, Deepa Iyer herself will participate in an Instagram Live event to speak about her framework and answer student questions.
Although open to anyone with the Instagram app, Sejal said the conversations are intended for NYU Silver students. “This series is about giving students an opportunity to see themselves in these 10 roles and to hear from different peers and professors about the roles they play in micro, mezzo, and macro spaces. We want to provide a framework for the ‘why’ behind social change work, convey the importance of intentionality in either centering or de-centering ourselves depending on the situation at hand, and promote understanding of the fluidity of one’s role in social change. It’s also a way to foster community and connection as the new academic year begins!”
Sejal noted the Social Change Ecosystem Map was very helpful to her as she went through it the first time. “I stumbled upon it during the early months of COVID-19, just after George Floyd’s murder,” she said. “I remember thinking that there was so much to be done, but feeling unsure and frustrated about where to start. When I looked at the map and the actual roles, I was able to figure out where I see myself based on my values, strengths and passions. While it’s fluid and you can sit in many of the roles at different times, Storyteller and Healer are the two roles that I consistently see myself in right now. The framework helps hold you accountable and you realize you don’t need a title to do social change work. When you see yourself in a role, it makes it easy to take the next step.”
Not long after she discovered the Social Change Ecosystem Map, Sejal made a big change in her life and applied for NYU Silver’s MSW Program in the 16-month pathway. In 2019, she had earned her BA in accounting from George Washington University and had gone on to work for a consulting firm. As she was working during the pandemic, she realized she was deeply unhappy with her career. “I didn’t love consulting and I wanted to really love what I was doing. I was really drawn to social work; I read Brené Brown’s work and it completely transformed my perspective.”
Sejal began our MSW program in January 2021, and right after Orientation began talking to Angie Kim, our former Associate Director of IESL, about possibly starting a Silver-sponsored podcast on hope in the field of social work. Said Sejal,“I remember Dr. Jae James spoke at Orientation about social workers being in the business of selling hope. That line really stuck out to me. I was really excited about the idea of the podcast but with classes and Field, I didn’t have the bandwidth to see that through. Still, I kept in touch with Angie. Through that connection, I had the opportunity to join the CPD team for the summer and spearhead the ‘Silver Social Change’ series. It’s only for a couple more weeks now, but it’s been a great experience. I have had incredible support from the whole CPD and IESL team, without which, this wouldn't be happening. I am so excited for the series to launch and to join other members of the Silver community in reflecting on our values, roles as leaders, and intentions in engaging in anti-oppressive work.”