Educational Research and Policy Analysis
Assistant Professor of Student Affairs Administration
Appalachian State University
For 10 years, Sonja Ardoin ‘13PHD worked as a student affairs practitioner, serving in student activities, leadership development, community engagement, fraternity and sorority life, student conduct and academic advising. In 2015, she made the transition from full-time practitioner to full-time faculty member. Now, Ardoin serves as an assistant professor of student affairs administration at Appalachian State University.
As assistant professor, she teaches courses to and advises master’s students in the student affairs administration program. She also conducts research and produces scholarship around college access and success for first-generation college students and students from rural areas, social class identity in the context of higher education, career preparation and pathways in higher education and students affairs, and student and women’s leadership.
Ardoin currently serves on editorial boards for the Journal of First-generation Student Success and the College Student Affairs Journal. She is a member of the advocacy board for the Center for First-generation Student Success and occasionally serves as a reviewer for the Journal of College Student Development and the Review of Higher Education.
What I value most about my experience with the Ph.D. program are the people that were brought into my life. I developed strong relationships with the faculty in my program, some of whom became mentors for me; my fellow doctoral students, who I still research and write with; and the master’s students who I taught, one of whom is now a fellow App State colleague.
“I was attracted to the higher education program at NC State for a combination of factors – location, funding and faculty. I wanted to live in a larger city in the south and there were not a lot of doctoral programs located in cities. The funding opportunities that were available were attractive. I was offered a graduate assistantship that melded my experience in administration with my interest in teaching and allowed me to get paid to work with the faculty I respected, who I had heard great things about before I even enrolled.
As a Ph.D. student at NC State, I had the opportunity to develop and teach a master’s level course with Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor and executive director of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research. That experience helped solidify for me that I enjoyed teaching graduate students and further developed my curriculum design and pedagogical skills. I also served on program and university committees through my graduate assistantship role. In many ways, my experiences as a Ph.D. student prepared me for future faculty roles. I’ve been able to apply many things that I’ve learned from the program into my current role, such as research skills, teaching skills, how to manage conflict, faculty politics and instructional politics.”