Angelica Calabrese

Bridge Year Program Director & Manager

MA in Anthropology, New School for Social Research

BA, Yale University

Angelica is a passionate educator and facilitator who loves gathering and building community and working creatively with colleagues and peers to understand problems, find creative solutions, and support learning and growth for all. Drawing on her graduate and undergraduate studies in anthropology, Angelica brings to her work a deep curiosity about people, places, and cultures, as well as a careful attention to the way that the past continues to permeate the present: she is particularly interested in and committed to decolonial pedagogy and to creating more just and equitable systems, on a variety of scales.

Her passion for transformative experiential education grew out of a collaboration with Ugandan youth that she began early in college, where she began to develop skills in both experiential education and for international development through local capacity building. A few years later, Angelica merged these interests by developing an exchange program that created affordable opportunities for high school and college students from Ghana, Togo, and Benin to travel and study in neighboring countries. Setting up this exchange program led Angelica to Dragons, where she began working in 2016 as a West Africa semester instructor. Since 2016, Angelica has worked with Dragons in a variety of different roles — not only as a semester and summer course instructor in West Africa, but also as a Mekong Semester instructor, Admissions Associate, Bridge Year On-Site Director (Senegal), and Program Director. She has also led backpacking and river trips in Idaho, Oregon, and Chile; taught English at a semester school in Idaho; and taught environmental justice at NYU and at Groundwork, an NGO based in Colorado.

In addition to her work as an international educator and facilitator, Angelica completed an MA in environmental anthropology, where she focused on environmental humanities and feminist science and technology studies. During her MA, she also worked as the project manager and research assistant to an interdisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners developing training modules focused on equitable university partnerships and external collaborations.

She currently lives in Lecce, Italy, where she is deeply involved in local organizing and social and environmental justice movements. In the fall, you might find her harvesting olives; in the spring, studying local wildflowers. When she’s not learning as much as possible about the flora and fauna of rural southern Italy, she loves biking and baking sourdough focaccia.