Dr. Sonja Ardoin, assistant professor of student affairs administration in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling in Appalachian State University's Reich College of Education (RCOE), has been named a recipient of the Academy of Outstanding Mentors for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Awarded by App State’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies, the Academy of Outstanding Graduate Mentors award was established to recognize graduate faculty members for exemplary mentoring activities well beyond good classroom and laboratory instruction or research supervision of graduate students.
Ardoin was recognized at the Graduate School’s virtual ceremony on April 14, 2021.
"Knowing that several members of the student affairs administration Class of 2020 coordinated this nomination is humbling and heartwarming because I view mentoring as a process of invitation.”
"Knowing that several members of the student affairs administration Class of 2020 coordinated this nomination is humbling and heartwarming because I view mentoring as a process of invitation,” said Ardoin.
“It is not necessarily something one can decide to do; rather, it is when someone - a graduate student in this case - invites you to serve in a role beyond advising or teaching and allows you to be an integral part of their experience,” she continued.
Ardoin believes mentoring is both a privilege and responsibility and is about supporting students beyond their campus experiences, and into their lives. “It is an investment in master's students' learning and career journeys, beyond their two years at App State and as they continue on in the field as my colleagues.”
“Mentoring graduate students is an honor. Every year. And especially this one."
“Mentoring graduate students is an honor. Every year. And especially this one," she added.
Ardoin earned a Ph.D. in educational research and policy analysis from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in higher education and student affairs from Florida State University, and a B.S. in secondary education from Louisiana State University. She joined the RCOE faculty in 2018.
Ardoin’s research focuses on four areas:
- social class identity in higher education;
- college access and success for first-generation college students and students from rural areas;
- career preparation and pathways for higher education and student affairs;
- student and women's leadership.
“As a first-generation college graduate who was (and still is) the beneficiary of the championing of quality mentors, I hope to pay that forward in ways that are useful to the graduate students with whom I engage,” said Ardoin.
She serves the broader field through volunteer roles with ASHE, ACPA, AFLV, the Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA, and several journal editorial boards, and is engaged as a speaker and consultant.
Counting published and in-press pieces, Ardoin has 35 peer-reviewed publications: four books, one monograph issue, 24 book chapters, and six journal articles, some of which are used by multiple HESA graduate programs across the U.S.
Additionally, in the past six years, Ardoin has received seven small university and association research grants and facilitated 90 presentations at conferences and gatherings. These efforts led to her being named to the 2017-2018 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy, a 2019-2021 ACPA Emerging Scholar, and the 2021 NASPA Early Career Faculty Award recipient.
Learn more about Ardoin’s work at www.sonjaardoin.com.