Q&A with Salini Sharma, MSW Class of 2022

Salini Sharma sits on a blue couch with a brightly colored pillows behind her. She is wearing a red silk tunic and her long, dark hair is flowing over her right shoulder to her waist

At the start of the 2021-22 academic year, we caught up with Salini Sharma, MSW ’22, a member of our Student Leadership Council and Co-Leader of our Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO). She grew up in Delhi and Haryana in India and is a student in our two-year MSW pathway at our Washington Square Campus. 

Tell us about your first year experience. What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was Diversity, Racism, Oppression and Privilege (DROP) in my first semester. It reminded me of my own grounding as a social worker and it made me reflect on our role in working with communities to dismantle systemic oppression and structural racism and how we are building equity along the way as social workers. It was centering and affirming, and it was a brave space to remind myself of my social work values and what we can do to build community, solidarity and support our communities of color in healing.  

Did you come to our MSW program straight out of your undergraduate program?

I worked for seven years as a community organizer and domestic violence advocate in India to build equity for survivors through survivor defined advocacy and end all forms of violence against girls and womxn. Two years ago, I moved to the United States to start my graduate school journey at Silver and I have continued to volunteer with domestic violence agencies in California and New York since getting here. 

Where did you do your Field placement last year and where will you be doing your placement in the year ahead? 

Last year, I was with Bigs & Littles. They work with youth and families in New York City through their community-based mentoring program and they have a collaborative approach of engaging whole families in supporting youth. This was such a great learning opportunity for me and it was a special experience since this was my first internship outside of India. This year I will be interning with Sakhi, a domestic violence agency that works with South Asian communities across the city. I’m excited to find my roots within the city, grow as a social worker, and work closely with communities of color in our collective movements for social justice.

In your Field placement this year, will you be doing similar work to what you did in India but bringing new skills from your time in the MSW program and refining them through your hands-on practice? 

Yes, that is my hope. I have worked for several years in India and other countries and I am excited to learn more through my MSW Program, field placements, my peers, our communities and the city. I’ll be learning in a country and city that is so new to me and I am excited about that. Having said that, I am also here to collaborate, engage and share my experiences. We have so much that we can share with each other, learn from one another and build together. I hope I will find many such opportunities to collaborate and join others in our collective activism for social justice and building community leadership. 

As an SLC member, you'll also be sharing with incoming MSW students. What made you want to be an SLC member? 

I just want the new students to know that they have an incredible support system here. They have students who understand what this experience is like and our expectations from being a student at Silver. So much has happened this past year and in unprecedented times like these, I just want the incoming students to know that they are not alone and we are here for them. We are cheering and rooting for them!