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College of Education

Sonja Ardoin

Associate Professor, Higher Education (Ph.D. in Educational Leadership) & Student Affairs

Office: 208 Gantt Circle
Vita: Click Here

Educational Background

Ph.D. Educational Research and Policy Analysis: Higher Education concentration
North Carolina State University 2013

M.S. Higher Education & Student Affairs
Florida State University 2006

B.S. Secondary Education: Social Studies concentration
Louisiana State University 2004


Sonja Ardoin, Ph.D. is a learner, educator, facilitator, and author. Proud of her rural hometown of Vidrine, Louisiana, her working-class, Cajun roots, and her first-generation college student to PhD journey, Sonja holds a B.S. in secondary education from LSU, a M.S. in higher education and student affairs from Florida State, and a Ph.D. in educational research and policy analysis from NC State. She considers herself a scholar-practitioner of higher education; she served as an administrator for 10 years before shifting to the faculty in 2015. She held faculty appointments at Boston University for three years and Appalachian State University for four years before joining Clemson University as an associate professor in the higher education and student affairs programs in 2022. Sonja's career path also includes experience in student activities, leadership development, community engagement, fraternity and sorority life, student conduct, and academic advising.

Sonja's research interests include social class identity in higher education; college access and success, particularly for first-generation college students and students from rural areas; student and women's leadership development and practice; and career preparation and pathways in higher education and student affairs. Sonja has co/authored four books, one monograph issue, and numerous book chapters and journal articles, and she has served as a speaker and consultant across the United States.

Sonja stays engaged in the field through presenting, facilitating, and volunteering with national organizations such as ACPA, AFLV, ASHE, the Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA, and several journal editorial boards. She is a contributor to the NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success advocacy group and the AFLV Board of Directors. She also serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of College Student Development-Research in Brief and the Journal of First-generation Student Success and as a reviewer for the Review of Higher Education.

Sonja contributes to literature through books, book chapters, journal articles, and blogs and enjoys reading the work of others. She credits her love of reading to her grandmother, who always brought her to the local library as a child and challenged her to read the maximum number of books each week.

Sonja also enjoys traveling, dancing and listening to music, reading, writing, sports, laughing, and spending time with people (and dogs) she loves.

Courses Taught

EDL 9770: Diversity Issues in Higher Education
EDL 9880: Directed Research (Dissertation Proposal Preparation)

Research Interests

Social Class Identity in Higher Education
College Access and Success, particularly for First-Generation College Students and Students from Rural Areas
Student and Women's Leadership Development and Practice
Career Preparation and Pathways in Higher Education and Student Affairs