Given to an individual or organization that has contributed significantly to the support of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences either financially, programatically or legislatively.
Sonia Steffes began her career in the fashion industry as a buyer and personal shopper for Nordstrom after earning a fashion merchandising degree in her home state of Wisconsin.
In 2004, her career led her to Athens where she opened a women’s apparel boutique, Sonia Says, with her husband, Steve.
Since her store is so close to UGA, it was only a matter of time before she reached out to mentor fashion merchandising students. For more than 10 years, she has worked closely with FACS to provide students with knowledge and to help connect them to the fashion industry.
From serving on panel discussions to speaking with classes and bringing in guest speakers who work on her trunk shows, Steffes has been extremely active in sharing her expertise.
In addition, she also provides FACS students with many opportunities to gain real-world experience. Steffes offers “in-store” teaching sessions after-hours in her shop, hires students for internships and jobs, and allows them to work as stylists and dressers in her fashion shows.
Steffes’ family and friends created the Sonia Steffes Fund for Fashion Merchandising in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
This fund allows Steffes to further support FACS students by providing them with scholarships to partake in the New York Study Tour program and learn about retailing, merchandising and design.
“I have had the pleasure to hear Sonia a few times when she has given presentations to classes. Her information is always timely, always professional, and the students are engaged with questions and comments,” said Patricia Hunt-Hurst, Associate Dean for Academic Programs in FACS.