Finding Greatness: Sonja Rivers

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2023 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Education and Behavioral Sciences | Finding Greatness

Cochran, GA


Sonja Rivers, an academic advisor in MGA’s School of Education & Behavioral Sciences, created a peer mentorship program as part of a class assignment. She is finishing up her Master of Arts in Technical and Professional Writing this fall.

Full Name Sonja Teresa Rivers.

Hometown: Macon.

Residence: Cochran.   

Family: “I have one daughter, Rosalie (who is 9 years old), a cat named Lumi Shine, and a dog named Maple.”

Current Employment/Career Highlights: “I am an academic advisor for the School of Education & Behavioral Sciences. I work with students majoring in social work, elementary/special education, and psychology. One of the great highlights of advising has been developing a peer mentor program where junior and senior students in the teacher preparation program mentored incoming freshman and sophomore education majors. I was fortunate to work with several caring and motivated mentors. In the spring 2022 term, I partnered with Dr. Monica Miller to participate in the undergraduate conference hosted by the School of Arts & Letters. The mentors formed a discussion panel and presented research on mentorship. I was proud to see them develop scholarship based on their remarkable service to fellow students.” 

Activities: “I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Tessie W. Norris Library in Cochran. At MGA, I serve on the student fees board, graduate student advisory council, and the team building in academic advising committee.”

MGA Degree Objective: “I am on track to earn my Master of Arts in Technical and Professional Writing (MATPW) this fall. In the spring 2024 term, I will work to complete the graduate certificate in Teaching College Writing.” 

Undergraduate Degrees: “I earned an AA in foreign language (Spanish concentration) in 2012 and a BA in English in 2013. Interestingly enough, my associate’s degree was among the last batch of degrees awarded from Macon State College and my bachelor's was among the first batch awarded from Middle Georgia State College. I am currently working on the final class for my Master of Technical and Professional Writing, which will come from Middle Georgia State University. I will have earned three degrees from one institution with three different names.”

She chose Middle Georgia State University for graduate school because … “There are many reasons I chose to attend this institution as an undergraduate and graduate student. When I was earning my bachelor’s degree, affordability and convenience were major factors. As a graduate student, I appreciate that the courses are offered fully online in eight-week sessions making it possible for me to complete my degree while working full time. The thread that remains constant in my undergraduate and graduate experiences is the exceptional instruction and advising I have received. We have many student-focused professors who go above and beyond to see their students succeed. I have a strong network of support from the faculty and staff at MGA.”

Her greatest experience as a Middle Georgia State graduate student has been … “I’ve had a lot of wonderful experiences as a graduate student. The peer mentorship program I created originated from an instructional design project assigned in Dr. Neil Rigole’s ITEC 5320 class. It’s rewarding when you can apply what you are learning in school to the real world. One of my main goals in undertaking the MATPW degree was to play into my strength (writing) and improve my weakness (technology). I was nervous about taking the ITEC 5300 web development course with Dr. Vicky Sandoval because I did not consider myself a tech-savvy person. By the end of the class, I had created an entire website. When the class ended, I realized I had achieved a great personal victory by transforming a weakness into strength.”

To her, greatness means … “Setting goals for yourself and achieving them. My signature line says: A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes reality.”

In five years … “Since this summer, I’ve led tutoring sessions to prepare students for the English/Language Arts GACE. The teaching bug bit me and I hope for more opportunities to work with students, especially on developing writing skills. In my personal life I’d love to slow down, read for fun, travel and garden.”