Posted December 11, 2013
Originally from Pasadena, CA, Monica Bouyea (Sociology/Psychology) initially became immersed in service as a mentor working with an ESL student at Brunswick Junior High School. During her first year at Bowdoin she took part in an Alternative Spring Break trip serving and learning from refugees from around the world in Clarkston and Atlanta, Georgia.
Monica led a Community Immersion Orientation trip focused on homelessness and hunger her sophomore year, and returned to lead another her senior year, this time focusing on service work with refugee and immigrant communities in Portland and Lewiston, Maine. She mentored local students through Fostering Female Leadership in Youth (FFLY) at the Bath Middle School and served on the Common Good Grant Committee, where she collaborated with other committee members to allocate over $15,000 in grant monies to local nonprofits. Additionally, since her sophomore year, Monica has served as a community outreach intern for the Volunteer Lawyers Project in Portland, Maine, helping to provide low-income Mainers from across the state with access to legal services and now serves as the Bowdoin Volunteer Corps student leader for VLP.
During the summer of 2012, Monica was awarded the Preston Public Interest Career Fund fellowship to intern in the Clinical Department at Midtown Community Court. There she worked directly with quality of life offenders ranging from women arrested for prostitution to individuals charged with shoplifting offenses - leading individual and group-counseling sessions for those convicted of crimes in hopes of breaking the cycle of criminal behavior and promoting a problem-solving approach to criminal justice.
Monica’s time at Bowdoin has largely been shaped by her involvement in Bowdoin’s Amnesty International club. As co-president she leads weekly club meetings and collaborates with other student organizations, academic departments, faculty and staff to raise awareness on campus of global and domestic human rights issues.
Returning from a semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, Monica is fusing her interests in the Spanish language and Latin American studies with her passion for justice, by pursuing a yearlong community-based independent study project. She is investigating perceptions of the legal system and access to justice amongst Latino community members in Portland, Maine, and the socio-cultural factors that influence these perceptions.
Fascinated by the criminal justice sector, Monica envisions a future advocating for a problem-solving approach to justice and improving communities' often-differential access to justice.
“The common good was one of the aspects of the college that first lured me to Bowdoin. It is a value I intend to carry with me into the world beyond college.”