Dr. Sonia Garcia is the Senior Director for the Access and Inclusion Program in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She joined the college in 2014. In this role, Garcia is responsible for the initiation, development, management, evaluation, and promotion of research informed and strategic comprehensive activities and programs for the recruitment and success of historically underrepresented minority students and under-served communities in engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Through pre-college efforts, in collaboration with the Women in Engineering Program, the Office of Admissions at Texas A&M University, and high school partners, Garcia has provided hundreds of students attending partner Texas’ high schools, the opportunity to participate in hands-on engineering activities as well as experiencing life in a college campus. Many of these students have since decided to pursue a degree in engineering at Texas A&M, and Garcia continues to work with them to ensure their success.
Garcia also directs community-building and peer-mentorship programs for undergraduate and graduate students, giving underrepresented students the opportunity to build confidence and camaraderie. These programs include the Engineering Success Program, established to provide academic support to first-generation underrepresented college students, and the Engineering Learning Community Introduction to Research Program, a high impact learning and research opportunity that offers freshmen underrepresented engineering students a chance to participate in a one-credit class and research project while gaining global experience with a research trip to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Garcia also leads efforts coordinating and directing the Engineering Summer Bridge Program, which gives first-generation underrepresented students a head start on engineering and math courses before their first semester begins.
Before joining the College of Engineering, Garcia served as program coordinator then promoted to assistant director of outreach and diversity at Mays Business School at Texas A&M. She later served as director of recruitment in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M. In both capacities, she created, managed and developed projects and programs to enhance the presence of underserved underrepresented students in science and in business. During her tenure at Mays Business School and the College of Geosciences, Garcia developed instrumental programs to ensure the retention of first time in college underrepresented minority students. Garcia also served as a lecturer at both colleges introductory freshman seminars focusing on culture and diversity.
She has received many awards throughout her professional career, including an Outstanding Staff award from the Mays Business School in 2005, the 2008 President’s Award for Academic Advising, the 2011 Latino American Who’s Who for her achievements in advancing the culture of the Latino American business community, and the 2012 Dean’s Distinguished Achievement Award in the College of Geosciences for her work on increasing diversity in STEM.
Garcia received her B.S. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, her M.S. in Human Development from the University of Rhode Island, and her Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University. She speaks Spanish, English and Italian fluently, and is well-versed in French.