Sonia Rios-Ventura was born and raised in Santa Maria, CA. She attended UC Santa Cruz and graduated with a double major in Anthropology and Sociology with a concentration in Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies (GISES). Through her GISES major she was part of the Everett Program where she worked with her peers on both a local project and one abroad. For her local project she worked with a Watsonville middle school teaching parents how to use computers to help narrow the digital divide, and to help parents communicate with their children’s teachers virtually. Her project abroad led her to Oaxaca Mexico where she worked with Fundación En Vía to help them develop a computer literacy class for their indigenous borrowers.
After UCSC she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a Teaching English Leadership and Life Skills volunteer in Panama. She worked with students and teachers giving seminars and classes on best teaching practices, English pronunciation, classroom management, and how to engage students in the classroom. She also held leadership seminars for university students and helped other volunteers with their projects that ranged from frisbee leadership camps (ages 10-18) to sexual education and HIV and AIDS education for remote communities.
After the Peace Corps she decided to move back to her hometown of Santa Maria to give back to her community. Gudalupe has always held a special place in her heart as Guadalupe was the first place in the United States that her immigrant grandfather called home.