Nancy Castignetti

Nancy Castignetti

Trinity Fellow Class of 2009

Graduate Program: MA, Education, EDPL College Student Personnel

Undergraduate Degree, Institution: International Studies/Spanish, Loyola University Chicago

Trinity Nonprofit Agency: La Causa, Early Childhood Education Center, Executive Project Coordinator

Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location:

Jesuit Volunteer Corps, 2003-2004, New Orleans, LA.

Service Experience:

I worked as a Refugee Resettlement Case Manager for Catholic Charities Archdiocese New Orleans. This entailed job placement, school matriculation, accessing of health benefits, securing a residence, and socially integrating refugees. Most of our clients originated from Cuba or war-torn countries in Africa.

Trinity Fellowship Experience:

I studied higher education administration through the College of Education. I had a great cohort and also met many admirable faculty members who taught in our department. I was fortunate to be able to enroll in summer courses both summers, which allowed me to complete my core while equally distributing the course load required.

My placement was at La Causa, Early Childhood Education Center. I started off as Assistant to Center Director. The first months of my employment, I was rather uncertain of my role and ended up self-selecting a span of tasks that I aimed to complete. Towards the end of second semester, I got a new manager and my role at the center became much more clear.

Over the summer I was able to contribute to our program by arranging dozens of educational field trips and site visits. On a limited budget I was able to send different groups of students to performances at Marcus Theatre, Milwaukee Public Libraries, and arrange visits to several museums, as well as tours to historical monuments such as The Pabst Mansion. I also arranged trips to the zoo, recreational parks, Kosciuszko Swimming Pool, and regular lessons at CORE/El Centro Dance Studio and tennis lessons at Kosciuzsko Park. This allowed our program for school-age children to be enhanced tremendously. Regular visitors to our school included Children’s Health Educators, among others.

In the fall I took charge of parent outreach programs, including PTO meetings and fundraisers, and charity drives to benefit our families. I also began to run Family Literacy Nights, and eventually was offered the position of Literacy Coach to La Causa. This meant that I would serve as the liaison to Milwaukee Public Schools in executing the terms of their $3.5 million Early Reading First grant. As such, I performed multiple assessments and evaluations, coordinated order and reception of classroom literacy materials, held monthly meetings with teaching and administrative staff of the classrooms receiving the grant, and attended professional development seminars. Because of my position and affiliation with MPS, I was also offered a tuition-free graduate class through Mt. Mary: "Analyzing Recent Early Childhood Literacy Research," which I just completed.

Plans after graduation:

During the course of my final semester working as a Literacy Coach, I discovered an interest in emergent literacy in early education. In many of our seminars, we were trained by speech pathologists. I immediately was interested in the work they were doing, and after some deliberation began looking into Speech Pathology. Currently, I have plans to pursue a second Master’s in this field. I am enrolled at UW-Madison as a “special student” to begin in Fall 2009, and hope to complete undergraduate requisites to apply to graduate schools in 2010.

Current Position:

Research Associate, UC Davis Medical Center for the MIND Institute’s Laboratory on Language Development and in Neurodevelopmental Disorders since 2012.

Fellows Class

Quick Links


Carole Ferrara, Director
(414) 288-5861

Carolyn Swabek, Assistant Director
(414) 288-0637

Peggy Mead, Program Assistant
(414) 288-5473