Sarah Van Clef’s journey began in Brookdale Community College’s classrooms, where passionate professors nurtured and encouraged her love for writing. As an English major, she immersed herself in the vibrant community of the Creative Writing Club, led by inspiring mentors who ignited her confidence as a writer, student, and leader.

During her time at Brookdale, Sarah took on various leadership roles within the Creative Writing Club, from treasurer to president, and even contributed as a poetry editor for the publication Collage. These experiences sharpened her writing skills and instilled in her a deep appreciation for the power of community and mentorship.

Upon transferring to Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), Sarah realized the importance of fostering a supportive writing community. She took it upon herself to establish a Creative Writing Club at FDU, driven by her belief in the transformative impact of such groups on aspiring writers.

However, life took unexpected turns, and Sarah took a hiatus from academia to navigate family grief. Despite the challenges and tribulations, her passion for writing remained unwavering. Determined to further her education and pursue her dreams, Sarah returned to school to earn dual master’s degrees in English and Creative Writing from Monmouth University.

“I remained connected to all the professors who guided me from the outset—Jim Cody, Suzanne Parker, Michael Broek, and Laura McCullough. They were instrumental pillars in my development as a writer and a student. Upon informing them of my master’s degree achievement, their response was unequivocal: ‘Please, please, please apply here.’ Their encouragement stemmed from witnessing the significant growth and journey I undertook, not just as a writer and student, but also as an advocate.”

With her newfound expertise and fueled by the unwavering support of her mentors from Brookdale, Sarah embarked on her journey as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University and Brookdale Community College. Her commitment to empowering students and fostering a sense of community echoes her experiences as a student, where mentorship and encouragement played pivotal roles in her personal and academic growth. Moreover, Van Clef is the founder of The Social Writerly, an online creative social platform that offers various services for writers and artists seeking a creative community! By providing an inclusive space for creatives to share their work with others, The Social Writerly is a home base for artists to explore, learn, grow, and experiment with writing.

“Van Clef expressed, ‘Being able to help support future leaders is something that I am striving to do.'”

Outside of academia, Van Clef also lends her expertise to her family’s trucking and towing business, Julian’s Garage, where she works alongside her aunt in a woman-led enterprise that has been serving the city of the South Amboy community for over 75 years.

In her role as educator and mentor, Sarah continues to inspire and support aspiring writers, guiding them on their journeys of self-discovery and creative expression. With each class she teaches, and each student she mentors, Sarah carries forward the legacy of her own transformative journey, rooted in the belief that writing has the power to shape lives and communities. For more information about The Social Writerly, visit the website: