January 30, 2020

Hardyston resident Lily Passaretti launches career in public policy after earning MSW from Columbia University.

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Jan. 30, 2020—For Lily Passaretti, an undergraduate degree in social work from Centenary University paved the way to the Ivy League—and her first job in public policy. Passaretti earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSW) from Centenary in 2018, and a year later, graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Science in Social Work (MSW), focused in public policy analysis and contemporary social issues.

Post-graduation, the Hardyston resident worked as director of legislative affairs for New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33). She credits Centenary’s BSW program with the fast start to her career. “Centenary did a phenomenal job covering all aspects of the field, including counseling skills, policy analysis, advocacy and community activism, as well as the foundations of research in the social sciences,” Passaretti noted. “The diverse professional experiences of the faculty at Centenary allow students to engage with and learn about all areas of practice during their undergraduate career.”

Terri Klemm, DSW, Centenary’s BSW program director, explained that the University’s cohort model, which allows students to progress through most courses together with students from their class year, supports undergraduates and provides important connections following graduation. “Centenary’s cohort model is so powerful,” said Dr. Klemm. “Every year, students support one another as they progress through the very rigorous program. The relationships they build within the program continue to be important after graduation for networking and connecting clients with resources. Because of the great work our students go on to do, Centenary’s BSW program is well respected in the state.”

In addition to Columbia, Centenary BSW recipients go on to leading graduate programs in the area, including New York University, Fordham University, Rutgers University, Monmouth University, and more. Because Centenary’s BSW program has attained national accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), its graduates are eligible for Advanced Standing status in MSW programs across the country. Whether they choose to move directly into the field at the BSW level or continue on for the MSW, Centenary BSW graduates are successful in areas of practice ranging from education and public service to medicine, senior care, veterans’ services, and more.

Passaretti is now an adjunct professor at Centenary. She tells students, “With a Centenary BSW, you have learned the skills to be one of the top employees in any organization, no matter which career path you decide to pursue. The social work practice skills, policy analysis, advocacy, and community organizing skills you will learn throughout the social work program are unmatched. That’s one of the best parts of having an undergraduate experience at a small university. Centenary professors are invested in your success.”


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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