Team Member Spotlight: Sonia

Team Member Full Name: Sonia Montoya

Preferred Name: Sonia

Job Title: Associate Director of Consulting

How would you best describe your role on the team at The Art of Applying?

I would describe my role as mentor and strategic thought partner to our clients. I also love partnering with TAOA’s fabulous consultants; I’m constantly inspired by their accomplishments and dedication to their clients.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

It’s hard to choose just one, so I’ll offer two. The first is witnessing clients’ “aha!” moments, such as when we introduce them to a great new program they didn’t know existed or help them determine the career trajectory they’re passionate about pursuing.

My other favorite aspect is hearing about all their successes. I love it when clients reach out to let us know about their admissions and scholarship offers!

If you were to go to grad school, what would you study and why?

Ha! This brings to mind walking out of my final exam at Harvard. It was for American Economic Policy, a class that was then co-taught by Larry Summers (former president of Harvard College and Chief Economist at the World Bank), Marty Feldstein (former economic advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Obama) and Jeff Liebman (former economic advisor to Presidents Obama and Clinton). So challenging! My Kennedy School friends and I spent many long nights preparing for that exam. The test took place in the Harvard Science Center: brutalist architecture at its most gray and foreboding.  The test began at 8:00 a.m. sharp in an enormous auditorium with dim lighting and seats like stone. When we emerged into the sunlight three hours later, I felt a sense of euphoria and liberation that I was forever done with exams.

That being said, I would love to study archaeology and documentary film-making!

What do you do for fun?

I play with my dog, enjoy leisurely meals with loved ones, and travel to historically significant places around the globe.

If you could have coffee with any public figure (alive or dead), who would it be and why?

The Buddha. But he’d probably chide me for wanting to speak to him in person instead of just reading the Dharma.

What would you describe as your culture and/or heritage? What’s something you can teach us from or about your culture?

¡Soy pura mexicana! One thing I love about Mexican culture is the strong bond families enjoy. The love is unconditional. Every time I visit my family in Mexico, I meet new cousins who welcome me as if I were their long lost best friend!

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

Granada, Spain. I felt such a tremendous sense of history and fusion of cultures and languages.

What’s the most surprising fact about you?

I’ve heard from others it’s how geeky I am, but I don’t find it at all surprising considering that I was raised by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Anything else you want to add?

Since I’m from Houston, I’ll give you my top 5 places to visit if you’re ever in H-town:

  1. NASA: you can touch moon rocks and tour Mission Control
  2. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: best collection of Latin American Art in the U.S.
  3. Buffalo Bayou Park: have a picnic on these lovely rolling hills of green
  4. The Heights: vintage shopping and tasty ice cream
  5. Minute Maid Park: where you can cheer on the Astros, 2017 World Series Champions!

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