Kristeli Zappa Monterroso was born and grew up in Guatemala City, Guatemala. After studying Mandarin in Taiwan she came to New York to continue her studies and ended up calling Brooklyn home. Kristeli received a B.S. in Digital Communications and Media from NYU and a MSW from Silberman School of Social work at Hunter College. In graduate school Kristeli was accepted into Child Trauma Program, a specialization that is run by the National Child Trauma Workforce Institute (NCTWI) whose mission focuses on preparing clinicians for trauma-informed work with children and families.