Featured Colleague – Sonya Joseph

By Stephanie McMillen

Sonya Joseph, assistant vice president for student affairs, says the most enjoyable aspect of her job is finding new ways for students to connect to the college.

“Every day, for the last 21 years, has been different and challenging,” Sonya said. “I love the mix of working with the students and working with the staff who work with the students.”

Sonya’s career at Valencia began in 1991 with two part-time positions – she worked as an adjunct math instructor and a student development coordinator on the Osceola Campus.

“After two years of two part-time jobs at Valencia, I became the full-time coordinator of student services at Osceola,” Sonya explained. During this time, she also continued to teach math in the evenings.

In 1998, Sonya became dean of students on the East Campus, and seven years later, in 2005, she moved into her current position as assistant vice president for student affairs.

In her time at the college, Sonya is proud to say that she served on the first student services team to span two campuses – Osceola and Lake Nona. “I began work with student services when we were in portables at Osceola and in the high school at Lake Nona,” Sonya said.

Among her accomplishments, she sites building a team that focuses solely on veteran issues at the college as being at the top of her list.

“I love the fact that I have been able to bring together a team whose primary focus is veteran issues,” Sonya explained. “The team has done great things together and we were just recognized as a veteran friendly school because of the services and outreach of the veteran’s coordinating group.”

Sonya was also instrumental in crafting the winning proposal that led to Valencia receiving a $1.8 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Sonya is an experienced professional who has the [skill that was] necessary to help develop the Title III concept,” said Kristeen Christian, assistant vice president of resource development. “She was able to conceptualize the project and articulate it in such a way that those reading the proposal would understand and see the connections.”

Sonya holds a bachelor’s degree in math education from the University of Central Florida (UCF), a master’s degree in higher education from Florida State University (FSU), and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from UCF.

In her free time, Sonya is a chauffeur for her children, taking them to dance, baseball, volleyball, and church activities. She also “loves” watching college football, especially when FSU and the University of Oregon are playing.

As fans of major league baseball, Sonya boasts that she and her husband have never missed a Spring Training for the Houston Astros in 21 years. “My goal is to see a game in every major league stadium in the country,” she said.

Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send their name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so they can be one of our featured colleagues!


  • Andrew Ray said:

    Sonya –
    Congrats on being featured in the Grove. Articles like this let us get to know each other much better – it turns out we started at Valencia the same year, and we're both baseball fans, though I'm sure you've been to more MLB parks. Enjoy your kids while they still need you; even when you see it coming, they're off on their own before you realize it.

    PMTue, 09 Oct 2012 19:23:07 +0000Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:23:07 +0000pm12,7:23 pm

  • Jackie Starren said:

    We miss you on the Osceola Campus Sonya! We need more cheering for FSU!!!

    PMTue, 09 Oct 2012 19:37:00 +0000Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:37:00 +0000pm12,7:37 pm

  • Diana Ciesko said:

    How cool that you are featured in the Grove! Congratulations to a former boss!

    PMTue, 09 Oct 2012 19:48:36 +0000Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:48:36 +0000pm12,7:48 pm

  • Tamla Thomas said:

    Congratulations Sonja this is absolutely fantastic! 🙂

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 05:07:43 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 05:07:43 +0000am12,5:07 am

  • Helen Clarke said:

    Miss you Sonja, but I'm home watching the Pennant races. Thumbs up on your veteran's work!

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 06:30:18 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 06:30:18 +0000am12,6:30 am

  • Denny Rogers said:

    Congrats to you! I love that you are passionate about assisting our Veterans with their education, they have given so much to so many, they deserve recognition and support ! Your smile and enthusiasm is contagious and we love having you at Lake Nona!
    Ps. Andrew is correct, your kids will grow up quickly so it is wonderful that you are actively involved in their lives now, memories will last a lifetime!

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 08:18:40 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 08:18:40 +0000am12,8:18 am

  • Angela Trujillo said:

    You are a great role model Sonya! Thnaks for sharing some of your personal life with others – it's a nice touch and feeling to know each other more personally. I too love watching FSU games – my son is there until December when he will return to complete his studies at UCF! Yep- they will grow but are always look forward to coming home:)

    I hope to continue working with you on veteran initiatives! Have a great day!

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 08:36:39 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 08:36:39 +0000am12,8:36 am

  • Brian Macon said:

    I am so glad that Lake Nona has stolen you away (well, at least your office) so that I can see you on a somewhat regular basis. Thanks for being so passionate and working so hard for Valencia students!!! By the way, I think we have a class or two available here if you want to teach some math 🙂

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 09:04:17 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 09:04:17 +0000am12,9:04 am

  • Katie Shephard said:

    Look at all the love for you. Here's a little more. 🙂

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 10:34:16 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 10:34:16 +0000am12,10:34 am

  • chenry said:

    Hey Dr. J., you gotta' have soul and passion, thanks for sharing your soul and passion with the 'World of Valencia,' you are appreciated!

    AMWed, 10 Oct 2012 11:44:00 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 11:44:00 +0000am12,11:44 am

  • Larry Mullen said:

    What an awesome article and awesome person! Very proud of you.

    PMWed, 10 Oct 2012 12:39:24 +0000Wed, 10 Oct 2012 12:39:24 +0000pm12,12:39 pm

  • Dana Scott said:

    You are pretty awesome, yet, I already knew that!

    AMThu, 11 Oct 2012 07:41:51 +0000Thu, 11 Oct 2012 07:41:51 +0000am12,7:41 am

  • Joanne said:


    You have always been and continue to be the "best" @ what you do!
    Valencia is lucky to have you!
    I think of you often and will always remember you fondly!
    Joanne Fader

    AMThu, 11 Oct 2012 11:37:53 +0000Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:37:53 +0000am12,11:37 am

  • Penny Waters said:

    Congratulations Sonya! And, thanks for bringing more attention to the needs of our veteran students, too!

    AMFri, 12 May 2017 08:30:20 +0000Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:20 +0000am17,8:30 am

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