John Sonza: “I want to serve my country again, and serve the world”

Picture of John Sonza and link to his story

John Sonza was accepted to SF State in 2005, but postponed his education to join the U.S. Army.

“It opened my eyes to the world,” he said. John studied international relations. “I’d like to be a diplomat and serve in a third world country, helping improve relations and helping sway governments away from corruption.”

After nine months in Afghanistan’s deadly Helmand Province, John felt very fortunate to be home. “Life is so much sweeter,” he says. SF State’s Veterans Services Center helped him adjust to campus life, providing academic advice and connecting him with fellow veterans.

John was one of more than 750 veterans or dependents studying at SF State his freshman year. Some ran out of federal education benefits, which are pro-rated depending on the length of active duty after 9/11.

“They struggle," says Rogelio Manaois, SF State’s Veterans Services coordinator. “They could really use financial help.”

The Nancy Pelosi Scholarship Program for National Service is one way SF State is supplementing existing G.I. bill benefits, and helping veterans make good on plans like John’s own. 

“I want to pursue something bigger than myself, in memory of my friends who died,” John said. “I want to serve my country again, and serve the world.”