Siblings take social work journey together

Siblings Rosie and Charlie Hogan are both currently attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Rosie graduated with her BASW from Pitt in the spring of 2021 and began the MSW program in August of 2021. She is currently completing her MSW with a COSA concentration and will graduate this month. Charlie is focusing on social work within the criminal justice system in his undergraduate program and is expected to graduate in May 2023.

Both have very personal reasons for their social work path. Says Rosie, “I chose to become a social worker because it’s who I am. People often say that social work chooses you, not vice versa and I agree with that sentiment. Growing up I struggled understand what my strengths were, but in my late teens I realized that my power was human connection and building relationships. Initially in my social work journey I imagined myself working in a direct practice setting, but I learned quickly through my courses, internships, and time in community that my passion was being a part of the movement to dismantle white supremacy and systems of oppression. I hope one day to be in the policy arena.”

Charlie shares, “One of the main reasons I decided to become a social worker was because of the values instilled within my family system from a young age. My parents made sure I understood and was aware of the privilege I hold, and they really emphasized the need to care and support for all other people regardless of circumstances. Furthermore, growing up in Singapore really showcased to me the differing levels of support that individuals need and that those basic needs need to be fulfilled to create a more sustainable, and holistic community. My eventual move back to America especially impacted my route to becoming a social worker. I experienced a harsh culture shock when I started going to high school in Pittsburgh, and the social issues which were not present in Singapore but were in America were maximized because of my non-American perspective. Pervasive issues such as racism, bigotry, and a very individual-based culture were for the most part new to me. Furthermore, upon my move to America I learned further about the historical and current symbolism of American institutions, such as the criminal justice system, as modes of oppression for individuals who are not white or wealthy. The very apparent unequal playing ground of American culture which I came to interpret has really pushed me to pursue a career in social work.”

Rosie is currently working as a permanency social worker with youth in foster/kinship care. She hopes to go to law school in the next few years and merge a social work perspective into the criminal legal system. “I am passionate about dismantling the current oppressive criminal justice system,” says Rosie. “I believe in a rehabilitation model not punishment.”

Charlie plans to get his master’s in social work and then eventually possibly attend law school. “The perspective that a social work education creates in a student is a needed viewpoint within the court of law,” says Charlie. “And I hope one day I am fully equipped with the personal and public tools I need to create sustainable change.”

Both have enjoyed their time at Pitt Social Work because of the “connections and relationships” they have made with professors, faculty members, and classmates. Rosie says, “Each cohort both my BASW and MSW, I've been able to make professional and personal connections that I will have for the rest of my life. I've met some amazing change agents through the School of Social Work, and I am inspired every day.”

Rosie and Charlie unfortunately haven't had the chance to work together in a formal setting or have class together because she has been a couple years ahead in her educational journey. “That being said, Charlie and I are incredibly close and are always willing to support one another in our social work journeys,” shares Rosie. “I imagine in the future Charlie and I working closely together.”