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Sonnel Hill Basora

Be Yourself at Purchase

Why Purchase?

Sonnel Hill Basora ’24 is originally from Harlem, New York, and decided to attend Purchase to have a sense of independence while also being close enough when she felt homesick. Sonnel describes herself as “Giving. Beautiful. Loving” and wants everyone to know that she is a Scorpio.

She began her journey at Purchase as a Creative Writing major with a passion for writing but ultimately discovered her love of literature, wanting to study written pieces instead of writing them herself.

Compassionate Professors

One of Sonnel’s favorite professors is Professor Mariel Rodney. Professor Rodney is an interdisciplinary scholar of Literature whose research interests include American and Black diasporic literary, performance and visual cultures. She made an impact on her journey as her advisor in her program while also being able to offer a space of comfort.

“As a Black woman it was comforting to see her in a crowd…She provided me with understanding and compassion, and I am so blessed to have been able to attend her classes…She has been an inspiration to me and I wish to thank her for being someone I could come to and never have to wonder if I would be welcomed.”

Favorite Spot on Campus

As a typical college student, Sonnel loves to be in her room. It is her home away from home after all. But when she’s out and about on Purchase’s 500 acres, her favorite spot is the Great Lawn, especially at night. Sonnel highlights the clear night sky above. She describes it as “…beautiful when the stars are out. Incredible view. I recommend taking a trip there and laying with the stars.”

Advice for the Next Generation?

Sonnel found herself as the thousands of Purchase alumni have in the generations before her. Her advice to new students is to “Be yourself.” She admits it does sound corny and cheesy but she insists you will find your people as she did. She affirms to not change yourself for others and be the best you.

What’s Next After Purchase?

Sonnel is working on her senior project and hopes to discover more about herself. In her own words, she describes her senior project as wanting,

“To explore myself and my relationship with the literature of the Black diaspora. How I can find myself in literature that has nothing to do with me but still, speak to me and my experiences and my feelings. Use Black literature as a mirror to better know myself, and the complex, deeper than its name, concept that is the ‘Black experience’.”

Sonnel plans to teach English Language Arts (ELA) to middle school students and maybe publish a book, or two…or five. She wants to be the person other students of color can relate to and find comfort in and strives to do that once she graduates.