Cheryl Bogdan, Student of the Year
by Heather Senison
Jun 20, 2012 | 16771 views | 0 0 comments | 65 65 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ridgewood resident Cheryl Bogdan was recently honored by the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, which she graduated from on June 4 with a 4.0 grade point average and “Student of the Year.”

Bogdan was also named a fellow of the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education, an initiative established by the John A. Hartford Foundation for students who demonstrate outstanding commitment to working with the elderly.

Bogdan was born and raised in Ridgewood to working-class parents, from whom she learned first-hand the need for adequate social services.

“Growing up, my dad was a factory worker, so he was really a victim of outsourcing,” Bogdan said. “Every couple of years he would lose his job.”

This struggle sparked her interest in housing and education development.

At first, Bogdan wanted to go to law school. She worked for a few law firms to gain experience, including one that handled claims related to 9/11, but eventually realized her true dream was to run for public office.

“I’ve always had a passion for working with people,” she said, adding that lawyers do a lot of their work over the phone. “I really have a passion for community-based work, community-based politics.”

Bogdan intends to run for elected office in the next 10 or 15 years, but is also open to the idea of running her own social services agency.

She said having a Master’s in Social Work makes her more well-rounded than others who run for public office.

“An MSW degree gives you that hands on, one-on-one experience with people to really understand what people in the community need,” she said.

Bogdan currently works at a re-entry program for adults transitioning from prison back into society.

“Understanding where they're coming from and giving them a desire, passion, hope, and utilizing their own strengths to really reach their max potential,” she said of her job. “What really makes an effective social worker is someone who has that passion.”

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