Andrea Rivera-Sosa

From a “Focus on Ecologists” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2009-2011.

Full Name Andrea Rivera Sosa
Degree MA/MS
Job Position Program Director
Organization School Of Life (SOL) International Foundation
Professional Affiliation Non-profit
Research Discipline Ecology Education
Describe what you do and briefly describe the activities that your job encompasses I work as the Program Director for The SOL International Foundation which is an independent, nonprofit, 501(c) (3) Public Charity which is working to initiate and support community-based education programs. SOL primarily works in the island of Roatán, Honduras, Central America and provides programs in various fields of education, arts and athletics. Through the support of repeating donations, fundraisers and grants SOL has been able to provide academic scholarships, enhance programs and provide assistance to impoverished children in the island. In addition, SOL fosters collaboration among other nonprofit, governmental organizations and business which are working toward similar goals to build healthy communities and increase quality of life.
What do you love most about your job? Every day is meaningful to the children we work with. They have the opportunity to be part of positive activities and receive assistance in the areas they need it the most.
For each degree you’ve obtained, list the degree, field, and institution. Environmental Studies Bachelors in Arts degree with a Marine Science certificate, University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States of America
MSc. Water and Coastal Management, University of Cadiz, Spain/University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Briefly describe your job path. Since my younger years in High School, I was involved in job related activities that combined outdoor environmental education (camp counselor) and marine education (aquarist). During my undergraduate career, I became involved in scientific research activities in the field of soil sciences (field and laboratory research assistant), marine ecology (research specialist) with the, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) studying phycology and spiny lobsters. Upon graduation, I worked at the state level (Environmental Services Trainee) at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, and as the community level as the Director of Research and Development at the Roatán Marine Park organization in Roatán.
What challenges did you need to overcome? Financial challenges can always be a burden, but thanks to scholarships and student loans, I was able to obtain an education.
What’s one thing you hope to do in the future? Establish community centers in the island of Roatán and help create alternatives to solve socio-economic problems in Honduras. Continue to provide learning opportunities to children and assure they have their fundamental rights.
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? SOL tries to respond to the basic needs of children.
What is your family background and what did they think of your career choice? My father went to college for Geology, and he was the one who really exposed me to the field of science when I was young. In my mom’s side, most of my family members are doctors, and she helps out the elderly in New Jersey. Both of my parents feel very proud of my choices, even though I am hardly ever home.
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist (or other profession)? Science was always my favorite subject throughout school, but it was in college that I made the connection between people and the environment. It then became more of a passion to try to educate people in our role to protect the environment, of which we directly depend on.
Who currently inspires you? Gandhi, My grandmother Elly Clott and Dave Elmore.
What is the most valuable advice a mentor gave you or that you would offer to someone who’d like to do the same job as you? Never give up. Challenges will always arise, but it’s your approach to these problems that will set you apart from the rest. No matter what people say or think, do what your heart and intuition tell you, and eventually it will all work out.
How do you feel your work has contributed to society? During my work with SOL, I think we are reaching society, one child at a time.
Year originally profiled. 2009