Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #178: Stephanie Caballero

Stephanie Caballero

Gradated from BoCo in 2012 with a major in Musical Theater.

Position: Senior Community Engagement and Program Manager at the NYC branch of Reading Partners, a nationwide nonprofit that focuses on helping elementary schoolchildren who are behind on reading get caught up. Stephanie’s hybrid job has different aspects. On the community side, she goes to local events and recruits volunteers. As a program manager, she works with the volunteer tutors at every school, making sure they have the resources they need, and fills in herself as a tutor to help assess the needs of more challenging students. She also does a lot of administrative tasks including managing the data of students they work with.

Overview: Shortly after graduating from BoCo, Stephanie moved to New York and started auditioning for theater roles, while waiting tables to pay the bills. Over the next year and a half, she got some very small / unpaid work, but nothing big came her way, and she was hustling less than many of her counterparts and eventually realized that it wasn’t really what she wanted. She recalled working with children in summer camp while in high school, and thought she’s try teaching. Still waiting tables, Stephanie got a job teaching theater to middle school children in the Bronx, and some substitute teaching gigs. Wanting to go full-time into teaching, but reluctant to go into more student debt, she applied in early 2015 to be an Americorps volunteer (receiving a modest stipend). In August, 2015 she started her stint, and was connected with Reading Partners, working as a literacy volunteer in the New York schools.

Still in Americorps, Stephanie applied and was accepted into the Teach for America program, which places people nationwide in school systems that serve underprivileged students to teach. She was placed in Baltimore and spent two years there teaching fourth-grade English, while taking classes and earning her Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University, Upon graduating and finishing, Stephanie moved back to NYC. She wanted to work in education, but ideally not as a classroom teacher. Her former supervisor at Reading Partners informed Stephanie that she was leaving and invited her to apply for that position, which she got. Soon after, her job broadened to encompass the community side of things as well.

You can see Stephanie’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes: “I love working with children, and in a very underprivileged community. I wanted to support them and give them better opportunities. I wish my work didn’t exist and these folks were not disadvantaged, but my work to close that gap feels very meaningful.”

My BoCo training made me be very good speaking in front of crowds, thinking on my feet, and using my brain in a creative way. I incorporate movement and rhyme into the classroom as it helps kids learn better. But the biggest thing is all the stuff I learned in acting classes about motivation & communication. That helps me listen to people and understand what’s important to them, so that I know how to support them. Also, consciously change my communication style based on whom I’m speaking with to make them feel the most heard.”

“Just go out and try whatever your’e wondering about — that’s the way you can truly know if it’s for you. Music and acting will always be there. Also, even if you want to be a performer, set yourself up for success by having multiple plans. Get a day job, preferable a good one that’s important to you, so that you’re happy while auditioning.”

“I couldn’t have imagined my life as it is now, but I’m really grateful that it took this turn. It’s no easier than when I was auditioning, but it’s the place I should be in.”

See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni