Passionate About Giving Back To The Community!
Sonya Brooks is a Ph.D. candidate and MPH at UCLA. Her research interests lie at the intersections of education/policy, law, and community health sciences. She intends to design frameworks to build better educational trajectories for students, specifically Black girls.
Brooks is a passionate advocate for the health and well-being of girls in Pre-K through 12th grade. She is the founder for Beautiful Brown Girlz, a community-based program in the Bay Area as well as We Are Our Mother's Garden and Soil 2 Soul - which are both community-based organizations in the Greater Los Angeles Area. She was recently awarded the 2023 UC Berkeley Fellowship Initiative Award for her work with students in marginalized communities and was a finalist for the 2022 Health Equity Challenge in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Sonya was the recipient for the 2022 UCLA Graduate Diversity Fellowship, and the 2021 Center for the Study of Women Black Feminism Initiative Award for her research on the empowerment of Black women and girls.
After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor’s in History and a Minor in Education, she obtained her Master’s in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. Brooks was chosen to be the Brown University Graduate Commencement Speaker at this Ivy League institution. Sonya has been invited to speak at conferences locally and nationally regarding her work with Black girls and the mechanisms needed for dismantling the challenges they experience in academic and healthcare spaces. Ms. Brooks is also known for her engaging, passionate, and energetic personality and her charismatic way of speaking and connecting.
Her current research areas include the historical importance of the non-verbal communication practices of Black women and girls, and the ancestral and intergenerational stories and narratives of their relationship with self-care, and foodways. Sonya creates spaces for this work by creating gardens in marginalized school spaces as well as under maintained spaces within the Los Angeles area. She is interested in creating and highlighting asset-based pedagogies centering on the health, well-being, and educational opportunities of Black girls. In her spare time, Sonya loves reading, gardening, roller skating, and spending time with her three children doing everything or nothing at all.
PhD in Education Policy - UCLA
MPH in Community Health Sciences - UCLA
Master's in Education Policy - Brown University
Bachelor's in History and Minor in Education - UCLA