20 in Their 20s: Wander Cedeño

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An economist helps produce a monthly report that gets U.S. presidents tweeting

As a senior economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wander Cedeño helps to produce the nation’s monthly jobs report—a highly cited indicator of the economy’s health. Growing up in New York City’s Washington Heights, he says he never could have imagined “working steps from the Capitol and having current and former presidents tweet about your report. It’s very humbling.”

Cedeño received scholarship support for his undergraduate studies at the Gabelli School of Business. “The help that Fordham provided sealed the deal in my being able to attend a top-notch institution,” he says.

It also helped seal another deal: On a trip with the University’s Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, he met his wife, Honduran-born Aryany (Pérez) Cedeño, FCRH ’11. The two were married in 2013.

For his master’s degree in international political economy and development (IPED), Cedeño was awarded a scholarship from Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “I think it’s a very special place,” he says of IPED, adding that he appreciated the program’s small size and the diversity of his cohort. He studied abroad briefly in the Philippines, where the conditions he witnessed made a big impact. “I came from a working-class neighborhood and I saw poverty in the U.S., but seeing poverty in a developing country is on another scale. It just makes you outwardly focused,” he says. “And it reaffirmed my desire to live a life of service.”

After graduation, Cedeño served as a New York City Urban Fellow. He worked in the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, where, among other things, he helped assess and catalog the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. “It was a massive cleanup, a crash course in emergency response,” he says. “It was really a dynamic experience.” He joined the labor statistics bureau in 2013, and was promoted to his current position last December.

Leaving New York was bittersweet, Cedeño says. He misses his parents, who were born in the Dominican Republic. “But I think everyone understands the journey. Not only mine, but my family’s, coming to America 30 years ago.”

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