Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario has spent more than 20 years reporting and writing about large social issues in the U.S.–hunger, drug addiction, and immigration–most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

She has won numerous national journalism and book awards. Her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S., entitled “Enrique’s Journey,” won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.

Expanded into a book, Enrique’s Journey became a national bestseller, won three book awards, and became a favorite among educators. It has been required reading for incoming freshman or offered as a common read at more than 72 colleges, and scores of high schools; a young adult version, published in 2014, has broadened the book’s use to middle schools. Seventeen cities have used the book as a common read.

In 1998, Nazario was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on children of drug addicted parents. And in 1994, she won a George Polk Award for Local Reporting for a series about hunger among schoolchildren in California.

Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, and began her career at the Wall Street Journal, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.”

She is on the advisory board of Catch the Next, a nonprofit working to double the number of Latinos enrolling in college, and on the board of Kids In Need of Defense, a nonprofit launched by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie to provide pro-bono attorneys to unaccompanied immigrant children.

She is an inspiring and experienced speaker.

Nazario, a graduate of Williams College, has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been awarded two honorary doctorates by Mount St. Mary’s College and Whittier College. She is now at work on her second book.

Sonia Nazario atop the "train of death" in Mexico.

Sonia Nazario atop the “train of death” in Mexico.

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Sonia Nazario spoke Jan. 23 at the Diversity in the Multicultural Millennium Conference at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. In a Rust Belt city that had lost 40 percent of its population since 1960 a concerted approach to get immigrants to move here was seen as a smart economic move. Immigrants start 30 percent more businesses than natives and many Turks who came from Russia, Somalis and immigrants from Latin America came. They have begun to revive neighborhoods where thousands of dilapidated houses had been abandoned. It's a model being replicated by dozens of other cities in the US.

Book Sonia To Speak

Sonia Nazario speaks at universities, conferences, high schools, and other events. Email her at:

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