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Florida State University


Writing is a force of energy. Used carelessly, words can destroy. With care, they can create understanding and uplift the spirits of others. As a tool of self-reflection, our words can reveal unconscious, inner demons that cause us harm, or hidden gifts that have long ached to be expressed.

"My purpose for writing," says Sonya Vialva, "is to depict the complexity and richness inherent in the human experience, as well as connect my experiences with that of others." Working toward dual majors—Social Work and Creative Writing—Sonya understands that they have a distinct commonality—as therapeutic agents, linking the individual with the collective human experience. "As a social worker, I want to understand one's social and personal condition, and I can use these abilities as a voice that speaks for the silenced in our society."

Academically, Sonya has performed superbly, appearing on the President's List every semester. Consequently, she has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the W.E.B. Du Bois Honor Society, and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars. For her outstanding writing, she has been honored with the English department's George Harper Award.

"To recognize the needs of the community," Sonya has volunteered at the Brehon Institute for Family Services, where she facilitated group classes on empowerment, goal setting, and self-esteem for homeless, pregnant women. This past spring, she had a "rewarding experience working with the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend—enhancing early childhood literacy through learning activities with a dozen of the most wonderful children in the world at Lesia's Learning Center in Havana, Florida."

Since her arrival on campus, Sonya has served in various capacities (currently as third-year resident assistant) for FSU's residence halls and Student Government Association, as an undergraduate fellow for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and as a legislative intern for State Representative Rene Garcia. She is also the copy editor for the FSView and Florida Flambeau newspapers and the magazine, Edge.

Sonya's future holds a master's in Clinical Social Work, with "a possible joint degree in Public Administration," because she is "deeply passionate about individual growth and self-fulfillment—and instituting policies that may make such change feasible."

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