Bianca Gaspardo is a recent UWM Communication alumna from Brookfield, Wisconsin. She decided to come to Milwaukee to pursue a degree in Communication. When asked what led to her interest in studying Communication, Bianca replied, “Communication is my middle name!” She felt like her communication classes were the most interesting and intriguing to her. Bianca didn’t have an ideal career in mind, but she knew she had to study something that interested her—as Bianca put it, “A Communication major encompasses so much and really allows you to be creative.”
Bianca felt comfortable in the communication department; she didn’t feel like just a number: “I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with professors that are so down to earth and wholehearted. Their passion for specific areas of communication provided so much more for the class. I truly think my experience without them, would have been detrimental to my success as a student.” During her time at UWM, Bianca participated in intramural soccer, sparked by her passion for the sport. This club helped her shape the way she currently teaches the value of fair play, inclusion, and respect through the components of Playworks.
Bianca is a program coordinator for Playworks Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that is changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. Playworks provides services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations countrywide! Bianca mentioned that her background in communication is helpful for arming students with tools for independence and leadership through group activities. Her degree has also helped her with leading large groups and working one-on-one—with her skills, she is able to initiate and build interpersonal relationships within her school, organization, and community. She shares ideas with her colleagues and fellow program coordinators to reinforce using creativity and collaboration.
Her favorite Playworks game to play with her kids is Rhythm Detective. She uses this game as an icebreaker and a team builder. Players begin in a circle and there is one detective chosen. They must leave the room temporarily while the rhythm master is chosen. The rhythm master creates a rhythm with hands and feet, using (for instance) clapping, snapping, and stomping. A player in the circle is chosen to start a rhythm. Everyone in the circle copies the rhythm. The leader of the rhythm changes it every few seconds and the person who has been out of the room returns and tries to figure out who is leading the rhythm. They have three guesses. If they guess correctly, the leader of the rhythm becomes the detective and the previous detective chooses the next rhythm leader. She loves watching the kids get creative while being nonchalant as they communicate nonverbally to a changing beat. Bianca rewards her students with (up to?) three stars at the end of class game time: one each for respect, responsibility, and safety. These stars help students remember the importance of playing safely, responsibly, and respectfully on and off the playground.
Aside from her position at Playworks, Bianca spends her free time practicing yoga, playing with her dog Beau, participating in team sports, and exploring Milwaukee’s attractions.
We love seeing UWM alumni flourishing in the community! Way to go, Bianca!
Visit Playworks Wisconsin’s website for more info!
By Jumana Al-Juma