Sonia Paul Sworn In as Student Trustee on the College’s Board of Trustees
By Brian Kleemann
As the new Student Trustee on the College of DuPage Board of Trustees, Sonia Paul of Naperville wants to serve as a strong liaison between the Board and students, especially clubs and organizations.
“I want to make COD an even better place for students to get involved,” she said. “It can be overwhelming at times when you put yourself out there, but I’m challenging myself and feel like I’m making a difference.”
Becoming student trustee is the latest leadership role for Paul, who is also president of Psi Beta, the College’s chapter of the National Honor Society in Psychology; the outreach officer for Feminist Alliance; a Student Ambassador; and a student mentor for COD Buddies, which pairs students with intellectual or developmental disabilities with mentors to help guide them around school. She also volunteers through the Student Leadership Council.
Deanne Mazzochi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, is looking forward to working with Paul.
“Because of her extensive involvement on campus, Sonia will provide key observations that will help us see various issues from the student point of view,” she said.
Paul’s desire to accomplish what she could not do in high school fuels her involvement. During her senior year, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. She missed three months of school and the application deadline for most colleges and universities, which forced her to reconsider her options.
“I wanted to live in a dorm and have the four-year experience that people always talk about,” she said. “I had all of the misconceptions that prevent people from choosing a community college. In the end, by coming to College of DuPage, it worked out the way it should have.
“What I love the most about COD is the relationship students have with their teachers. They have a real interest in knowing me and helping me, especially (Assistant Professor of Psychology) Elizabeth Arnott-Hill and (Counselor) Michael Duggan.”
Paul is also discovering how to incorporate her passion for drawing and painting into a career. She is pursuing Psychology and is considering work as an art therapist, where she can work with children in a similar way to how she was helped in the hospital.
Although mindful of being stretched too thin, Paul recognizes the importance of becoming involved and believes College of DuPage is the ideal place to do so.
“You can either come to class and go home or make the most out of your college experience,” she said. “My advice to other students is to learn from me. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you will get so much more in return.”
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 26,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants nine associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.
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