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In Michigan in 1978, my family was hit by a drunk driver at 90 miles per hour.  As a two and a half year old, I was almost left without parents.  Following the accident, both my mother and father were rushed to the emergency room and placed in intensive care, where doctors gave them limited hope for survival.  However, in time, they found the strength and perseverance to overcome serious and permanent physical injuries.  Nevertheless, as a child, I watched my parents suffer through extensive physical rehabilitation.  I also learned a much broader lesson: life is fragile and fleeting.
 
The drunk driver who nearly destroyed my family was a repeat offender.  In this instance, weak laws, poor law enforcement, and an ineffective court system failed to prevent this avoidable wreck.  In 1978, the state did not require the drunk driver to seek the professional help he clearly needed.  I continue to believe that much work can be done to make our roads safe from drunk drivers and other community threats.  We must use our resources wisely to combat the underlying problems that lead to abuse, addiction, and assault.  I have witnessed the human costs associated with violence against ordinary families and I trust we can find noteworthy solutions if we have a sustainable will.
 
At an early age, I was diagnosed with dyslexia.  Of course, I had the good fortune of being identified correctly, but my parents and I experienced the crucible of locating a school that could help students with special needs.  This search was particularly problematic in the early 1980’s because information about special education was often confusing and contradictory.  After attending a number of public and private schools that offered initial promises that would quickly fade, my mother - who was a retired teacher - volunteered to school me at home.  Using a model of hands-on learning that Thomas Edison’s mother used when the creative youngster was removed from school due to his dyslexia, my mother took me to a wide array of museums, historic sites, cultural events, and conferences.  Providing me with as many special custom-tailored learning opportunities as she could, my mother was a wonderful teacher.  However, I realize that not all parents have the ability or the resources to follow her example.  Today, countless children continue to face the difficulties I encountered, and I remain dedicated to the proposition that America’s public schools should serve everyone.
 
The success of my mother’s educational strategy resulted in a bold step.  When I was twelve years old, I began college.  In the end, I earned my undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - graduating with Highest Distinction, an induction into Phi Beta Kappa, and a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average.
 
In college, I became active in a number of student organizations devoted to leadership and improvement in the community.  While my particular activities varied greatly, my passion for service to the community remained a constant.  For example, I volunteered as a youth mentor to juveniles in a maximum-security incarceration facility and served as a field researcher in a historic environmentalist canoe expedition down the Grand River, Michigan’s longest river (over 250 miles in length).
 
After completing my Bachelors degree, I began working as an Intern for the Clinton Administration in 1995.  In time, I worked in the West Wing Press Office helping to serve members of the national press, gaining unique experience during moments of great national stress.  My experience in Washington further impacted my career goals and helped confirm an earlier life decision: that I would not strive to be an architect of buildings, my original childhood ambition, but instead, I would work on improving the architecture of society, concentrating on effective public policy and thoughtful social change.
 
As a further step toward this career direction, I left Washington and began studies at Yale Law School at age 19.  However, in the final analysis, I was too young for law school; I lacked the necessary maturity and judgment that was required.  From this experience, I learned an important lesson while transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood: wanting a particular future must be carefully built with much focus and humble effort.
 
At 20, I left America to attend the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.  I studied in England for three years and earned a degree in Sociology from Oxford and a degree in Politics and Sociology from Cambridge.  The privilege of simultaneously studying at the two oldest English speaking universities in the world brought excellent opportunities for research, travel, and reflection on difficult social policy questions.
 
Upon my return to America in 1999, I began studies at Dartmouth College that would span five summers.  After my first summer at Dartmouth, I attended and graduated from Stanford University’s School of Education, studying in an interdisciplinary program that included courses from the Law School, Graduate School of Business, and the School of Humanities and Sciences.  After my second summer at Dartmouth, I moved to New York City in the fall of 2000.  In one academic year, I graduated from both Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture and Teachers College.  While living in Manhattan, I taught at Queens College, Baruch College, and the Pratt Institute.  One memorable highlight from the spring of 2001 was the privilege of participating in Vice President Al Gore’s post-Presidential election course at the School of Journalism at Columbia.  Since leaving New York, I have completed graduate degrees at Dartmouth College, Brown University, Brandeis University, and Skidmore College.
 

When I moved to Massachusetts, I began studies at Harvard University.  Presently, I am pursuing my interests in urban planning, while incorporating social policy perspectives that have been cultivated and refined in graduate study.  While in the Boston area, I have taught at Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts, Suffolk University, Emerson College, Lesley College, Quincy College, and Bunker Hill Community College.  Additionally, I have served as a Tutor and Teaching Fellow at Harvard.

Constantly hungry for more learning opportunities, I have also completed graduate course work at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, the College of William & Mary, the George Washington University, Ithaca College, and Cornell University.

 
For relaxation, I enjoy public speaking and debating competitions, which have taken me to Europe, Asia, Australia, and both sides of North America.  I have competitively appeared at the European Championships and two World’s Debating Championships.  An example of my success includes winning the Princeton University Adlai Stevenson Memorial Public Speaking Tournament.  Other pursuits have fostered rigorous travel, which has resulted in exploring every inhabited continent.  Theater, visual arts, and community service are other interests that I regularly pursue.
 
My life experiences have shaped who I am today.  From an early age, I realized that life should never be wasted or squandered and that coping with challenges and overcoming adversity can be a powerful motivation for a life of perseverance and hope.  My exposure to politics confirmed my interest in the arena of public service, and highlighted the importance of thoughtful, sincere, disciplined, and empathetic leadership.  In the final analysis, creating a better tomorrow requires a bold vision and a recognition of our past experiences.
 
 
 
 
 
Benjamin B. Bolger: index
Benjamin B. Bolger: photos
Benjamin B. Bolger: projects
Benjamin B. Bolger: links
Benjamin B. Bolger: contact
 
                   
 
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