by Krista Richmond
Sonia Garcia expands on College of Engineering’s diversity efforts
Sonia Garcia came to the U.S. mainland in 1988.
She and her parents left the Dominican Republic and spent several years in Puerto Rico before coming to pursue their American dreams.
“As I started going through the educational system, I found myself being cocooned by many great people who helped me transition,” said Garcia, assistant dean for undergraduate diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Engineering. “I had all of these great role models who helped me navigate the intricacies of higher education and complete an undergraduate degree—something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish. Navigating the system being an immigrant, a first-generation college student, working full time to help my family pay for my college, was a lot to shoulder, and having these role models was a saving grace.”
Garcia earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Massachusetts Boston; a master’s degree in human development, family studies, and related services from the University of Rhode Island; and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Michigan State University. She gives credit to those who helped her along the way.
“Through those role models, I kept meeting other people, and they kept seeing something in me that I didn’t really see,” she said. “I think the reason I ended up in higher education is precisely because of the experiences I had. I want to be one of those individuals doing the same thing for underrepresented minority students.”