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SPAA Graduate Profile: Monica Bastos (BA'20, MPA'21)

Monica Bastos (BA'20, MPA'21)

Full Name:  Monica A. Bastos 
Age: 27 
Hometown:  Kearny, NJ 
Degree Program:  5-Year Dual Bachelor’s Degree/Master of Public Administration Degree 
Graduation Year: 2021 

Why did you enroll at SPAA?
I was worried and anxious about current events and the state of world and our country, and I felt helpless. But my dad always taught me that when we see injustice or things we don’t like, we have to do the work and change it ourselves – we can’t just wait around for things to get better. I didn’t want to feel powerless anymore, so I enrolled in SPAA to dedicate my life to the service of others and to contribute as much as I can for a better world.

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
I hope to have a meaningful career. I want to keep advocating for immigrants and women and I hope to be a force for positive change.

Favorite SPAA memory?
My favorite memories, and perhaps what I’ll miss the most, is hanging out with my classmates before and in between classes, discussing the material, reviewing each other’s papers, and laughing and encouraging one another. SPAA felt like home and my classmates – friends – made every morning special and were my biggest support system. It made a world of a difference and I built relationships that’ll last a lifetime.  

Biggest challenge(s)?
The pandemic has been extremely challenging for me because I don’t like online classes very much. Additionally, I miss seeing my friends and classmates, the chats after class about our papers, and the constant exchange of ideas and sense of belonging.  

Next steps?
I hope to use my MPA to research and develop policy. I enjoy discussing and developing ideas into policy and studying the impact on communities. I especially want to keep working on immigration issues, women’s rights, and racial equity.

Advice to incoming students? 
Constantly challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone – great things can happen!  Explore international programs that SPAA offers, make friends with your classmates, create relationships with your professors, go to networking events – it all goes a long way. 

Lastly, be strategic with your internships! Seriously, it can make a world of a difference. You can learn what you like and what you don’t like and make contacts that can help your career when you graduate. It’s super important and your professors will do everything they can to help you. Don’t ever limit yourself!