Lifestyle • Career • Business • Education • Religion

CAREER

Sonia Croxie

The only child of Julie Hartley, wife of Joel Croxie and mom to Janiya Croxie, Sonia Croxie is all about family and community. For the past 20 plus years Sonia has worked in Immigration Services.

A faithful member of Bethel AME Church, Sonia is one well rounded individual. Sonia attended Buffalo Traditional for grammar and high school and graduated in 1991. An Honor student, Sonia was very active in school. Remarkably Sonia had perfect attendance throughout high school. The attendance achievement allowed Sonia to receive a scholarship from Hills department store at graduation. Sonia left Buffalo after high school and attended Clark Atlanta University. The 1995 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Clark enjoyed the HBCU experience. Sonia states “college was great, I have friends that will last forever! It was the greatest experience attending an HBCU. The unity and camaraderie amongst everyone who looks like you is an experience you can’t get anywhere else. All of my college roommates were bridesmaids in my wedding and we still talk to this day”. One Sonia’s fond memories from college was going to Daytona Beach for spring break during her sophomore year. “We had no plans to go, my roommates and I just jumped up and went ,it was like 11pm at night, after sitting around talking and realizing the campus was dead because everyone had left for Daytona. We had no hotel, no kind of arrangements made, nothing! When we got there, we snuck into an office building to use the bathroom and wash up, we slept in the car that night, then asked some strangers we met on the street to use their hotel to wash up the next day. We had the best time” Sonia shared.

On April 11, 1998 Sonia became a member of the Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. organization. The organization has assisted Sonia with being able to serve her community through the various activities and events; Black College Tour, Jabberwock/Crimson and Cream Gala-scholarship fundraisers, and more. Janiya (Sonia’s daughter) is currently the reigning Miss Jabberwock 2018 as she raised over $15,000 to contribute to Delta’s scholarship efforts. Sonia is an Immigration Services Officer for the United States Citizenship and immigration Services (USCIS) but when she was in college Sonia wanted to be an adult business teacher (teaching word processing, typing, etc.). The thought of pursuing a career in law enforcement never crossed her mind. Sonia started off her career in 1996 as an Immigration Officer, (Toronto airport). In 2002, she transferred back home to Buffalo and worked at the various ports of entry (Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, Lewiston Bridge and Whirlpool Bridge) as an Immigration Officer. She states “my first year was interesting considering it was my first “real” job after college. As many times as I had crossed the border in my lifetime, I never knew the magnitude or importance of the questions being asked when you cross the border. I never had really thought about it. During my first week of training I was learned about Visa’s, I was confused, I thought they were talking about a credit card. Not realizing a Visa was a document needed for travel to other countries, I was very young and clueless.”

During her first year, Sonia had to go to Glynco, Georgia to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for training for 4 months. Sonia says “that was the HARDEST thing I have ever had to do in my entire life! I was the only black person in my class as well as the youngest, I had never shot a gun and fresh out of college. I was used to getting good grades and excelling in my academics. It was super hard and I was getting 60’s and 70’s on tests, that wasn’t easy for me to deal with. If you fail one test you lose your job. I called home crying everyday. Finally, I had to accept that I can’t be good at everything. After finally making it through the academic portion of the academy, I then struggled with the firearms part. We were shooting .45 caliber Berettas, the gun was too big for my hands. I didn’t have the strength to pull the trigger. You were given three opportunities to qualify at the end of the six week course. By the grace of God I qualified on my very first attempt, I never could the entire six weeks of training.”

“I was away from home during the holidays, I had never been away from home on Christmas. I cried so much my mom flew me home for about 12 hours, I flew right back because I had to be in class the next day. My husband flew down a few days later to spend New Years with me so I wouldn’t be alone. That time period was hard, and helped shape me into the woman I am today” Sonia shared.

 

Tapping into strengths she didn’t know she had, Sonia has become a great speaker. She proudly states “my favorite part of my job is emceeing Naturalization Ceremonies. Prior to that I was not much of a public speaker/ figure. Now being in front of the camera, an audience or anything of that nature is my forte. Dealing with people from various backgrounds and ethnicities can be very challenging at times but it also has broadened my cultural views allowing me to see things differently. While I used to take being a citizen for granted, working in immigration allowed me to realize and empathize with the struggles and differences people from other cultures face, hence why they try to come to the United States by any means possible.”

Next for Sonia is to finish up her career in Immigration. With only 11 years left before retirement Sonia hopes in the next few years to take on a community relations officer position with immigration where she would go around talking to various groups, organizations, and agencies educating them on the structure and policies of the agency. In Sonia’s free time she enjoys traveling and cheering for her hometown team the Buffalo Bills. She shares “one

on my bucket list is to travel to away games in every stadium where the Bills play. I rarely have down time because I am the mother of an active teenager. So my down time consist of being a mom and supporting her activities, traveling to cheer competitions, traveling to majorette dance competitions, or attending volleyball games, or

participating in a Delta events.”

© Panoramic Magazine 2017