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"I did not consider any other colleges at that time because Dr. Spradley spoke so highly about the program, and when I read the literature, I was convinced that this was the school for me."

Sonia Russell
Class of 2008
School of New Resources
Co-op City Campus
The College of New Rochelle


Where are you from, Sonia?

I was born in Harlem, moved to the Bronx when I was 5, and then to Lakeview, Long Island when I was 13.


Tell us something about your family?

I am the youngest of four daughters. My parents have been married 59 years. I also have three nephews and two great-nephews.


How did you hear about The College of New Rochelle and the School of New Resources?

Dr. Patricia Spradley, a past campus director of School of New Resources, encouraged me to go back to school and pursue a teaching degree. She spoke very highly of the SNR program and obtained information for me to peruse.


What other colleges did you consider?

I did not consider any other colleges at that time because Dr. Spradley spoke so highly about the program, and when I read the literature, I was convinced that this was the school for me.


What city campus of CNR do you attend?

I take all my classes at the Co-op City campus.


Why did you decide to get a college degree?

I attended New York Institute of Technology in Long Island, after I graduated from Malvern High School, but did not finish school. I always wanted to complete my education and after I wrote my novel I decided it was time to obtain my degree.


Tell us about some of your favorite professors.

From the first day that I walked into the Co-op City campus for orientation and to take the entrance exam, Pearl Sullivan, Coordinator of Retention, has given me wonderful and timeless advice. Her help is not only about school and classes, but regarding life and career choices. Although her schedule is busy and hectic, when I am in need Pearl has taken the time to pray with and for me, and to help me find my way through any problem I might have. She is a wonderful role model and spiritual guide and has been extremely supportive of my endeavours. I am blessed to have her in my life.

I am also blessed to have in my life, Professor Heather Herrera. Professor Herrera has been a great help to me since I first met her in 2005. As my Letters Advisor, she has led me towards certain goals that I never would have considered without her input. Ms. Herrera renewed my love of American literature, and she also gave me a desire to learn more about American history because of the creative and interesting way she taught the course, American Experience. I am privileged to have had her as a teacher and mentor.


What clubs or organizations are you involved with as a student?

I sing soprano in the Gospel Choir Students of Victory, mentored by Min. Pearl Sullivan.


While you attend college do you also work?

Yes, I work for HQ Global, a member of The Regus Group Network, in RexCorp Plaza, Uniondale, New York, which is a worldwide company with 950 business centers. We offer a client-driven mix of workstations, conference rooms and support services, such as video conferencing, telecommunications, internet connectivity, reception and secretarial services.


What are your career plans?

I want to earn a masters degree and teach writing. I would also like to write for a magazine under my byline, SoniSays.


Tell us about your book and how you got it published?

My book is about a woman who has to make a choice between two men. She has to decide how she will make this choice: superficial reasons or reality. She and her friend are on a journey that will spin off a series of books showcasing different characters from the original story.

I began writing this novel in 1997. A friend suggested that I pen a book after reading a few of my poems. He said I was so descriptive in the way I wrote that I could write a really good story. I followed his advice.


That’s interesting. Would you give us an example of your poetry?

Well, there’s this poem, “I Thought I Knew.”

I THOUGHT I KNEW
WHEN I WAS YOUNG
THAT HAPPINESS
WAS SONGS I SUNG

THAT SMILES I WORE
MADE ALL THINGS RIGHT
THAT LIFE WAS LONG
AND ALWAYS BRIGHT

I THOUGHT I KNEW
WHEN I GREW UP
THE WAY TO FILL
MY LOVING CUP

THE MEANS TO WIN
OVER UNJUST
THE ENDS TO KEEP
MY FAITH AND TRUST

I THOUGHT I KNEW


How did you go about getting your novel published?

I have heard so many horror stories about writers getting rejected by publishers that I began to look for other ways to get my book published. I considered many different types of self publishing and finally decided to establish my own company. I started my business, and I now own SoniSpeaksVolumes Publishing, LLC. My book is the first published under this company name.


Has your book sold in other countries?

No, we are only published in the United States at the moment, but I fully expect to enlarge my readership and sell the novel in other countries.


When do you expect to graduate from the School of New Resources?

I am graduating in May of 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts, and my area of interest is Letters.

To find out if  CNR is the right choice for you, please contact:


School of New Resources
Office of the Dean
The College of New Rochelle
29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805
914-654-5334
email: snr@cnr.edu



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