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Member Spotlight

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Sonia Rodriguez Thorn

Residence: Wesley Chapel, Florida

Organization: Pasco-Hernando State College, New Port Richey, Florida

Occupation: Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs

First job: I was 13 when my family moved from New York to Florida because my father’s plant in Brooklyn closed and relocated to Mexico in 1986. My father bought a Lucite business, and our family began making clocks, photo frames, bud vases, candle holders, etc. We cut, drilled, buffed, and shaped these items in my parents’ garage. Then, my mom and I did cold sales door-to-door, and on the weekend all of us sold what we made at a flea market. In the moment I surely did not appreciate those life lessons my parents showed me about resilience and persistence. I can say those life skills have been innately foundational to the person I am today.

Philosophy: Keep breaking forms and breaking norms!! Nothing good comes easily, but have the commitment and tenacity to be that catalyst for change for the greater good.

Favorite music: 80s music, Afro-Cuban Jazz, R&B Soul, and Hip-Hop

Favorite TV Show or Movie: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker (Netflix)

Most Recent Book (Favorite book): TWho Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely
by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger

What got me interested in my work: My interest in my work came about from my experiences as a first-generation American and being the first in my family to attend college. I had no one to guide me, but I was fortunate to begin as a dual-enrollment student in high school with Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC). This experience enabled me to assist my sister with navigating the college experience. Twenty-six years later, I continue to enjoy helping students navigate the college experience.

Success is... Whatever you decide it to be. Stay the course and continue to plan and dream. Your options are limitless!

Pet Peeve: Procrastination–Why wait for tomorrow when you can get it done today? Sometimes the fear of failure is the reason we delay doing tasks/projects. Start where you are with what you have…just start!

Favorite Quote:The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Current Project: The Entrepreneurship Innovation Center (ESHIP) at PHSC was awarded a $50,000 state grant for Entrepreneurship Education and Training in 2020. This will enable students to participate in programs
such as pitch events and speaker series — events that expose them to the potential of making their ideas a reality coupled with their career pathway at PHSC. It will also enable us to open a makerspace on our Brookville campus, increase professional development opportunities for faculty, and integrate entrepreneurial curriculum and training into coursework at PHSC.

What impact has NACCE had on your college's entrepreneurship efforts? NACCE has impacted PHSC in many ways in just a short time. Through a NACCE webinar, I learned about the work of The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative and Gary Schoeniger who we had as our keynote speaker at the fall faculty kick-off event. Also, one of our faculty members represents PHSC in the Michelson Intellectual Property Educator-in-Residence initiative. NACCE has also helped us to prepare our new Entrepreneurship Innovation Center.