monica Bastardo

Trinity Fellow Class of 2016

Graduate Program: Public Service - Nonprofit Administration

Undergraduate Degree, Institution: BA Elementary Education, University of Portland

Trinity Nonprofit Agency: Dominican Center for Women, Communications and Community Engagement Specialist

Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location:

I served as an education volunteer in the US Peace Corps. My service began in Uganda in July of 1998 and ended in the Dominican Republic in May of 2002. In May of 1999, with increasing security concerns, the US made the decision to suspend the Peace Corps program in Uganda. It was difficult to say good-bye abruptly to Ugandan friends and colleagues, and a village that had become home. I was reassigned to a small fishing village called Miches, on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. Similar to Uganda, I worked with Dominican counterparts to gently model and encourage teachers and district officials to think critically and creatively about education. I lived in Miches through May of 2002, working in schools, the district’s education office and resource center.

Trinity Fellowship Experience:

The Trinity Fellows Program and graduate school has been a phenomenal experience for which I am grateful. Unlike many Trinity Fellows, quite a bit of time has passed since my service experience, so it was unexpected, just how strongly my Peace Corps experience resurfaced and informed my graduate studies.

At Marquette I pursued the Master of Arts in Public Service. This degree program offered great flexibility, allowing me to tailor my academic experience based on my curiosity about intercultural relations in Milwaukee and skills I needed to effect change in this area. My coursework naturally blended together to support an understanding of the history of our urban communities, current intercultural issues at home and abroad, and pathways toward a more just future in which all cultural groups can prosper.

As a Trinity Fellow, I worked at the Dominican Center, a small nonprofit with a big mission - to work with Amani residents and partners to build a better future. Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood is just minutes northwest of downtown. I served in a communications position, producing publications and maintaining the Dominican Center website and Facebook pages. I was inspired by leadership that uncompromisingly reflected the voices and interests of Amani residents, and by courageous residents who face tremendous challenges with great faith, determination and optimism.

Plans after graduation:

My immediate plans are to teach summer school at Deer Creek in St. Francis, WI in the mornings and continue working with my Trinity placement agency, the Dominican Center, in the afternoons. In August I will present a paper titled We Are Not The Same Under Our Skin: From Ethnocentrism to Ethnorelativism at the V International Conference on Afro-Hispanic, LusoBrazilian, and Latin American Studies in Ghana.

Current Position:

Teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools

Fellows Class of 2013

Quick Links


Carolyn Swabek, Director
(414) 288-0637

Alisha Klapps Balistreri, Assistant Director
(414) 288-0260

Peggy Mead, Program Assistant
(414) 288-5473