"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." – Daniel 12:3
Warner Pacific College is honored to recognize Sonya Fischer '88 with the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Service Award. Attorney Sonya Fischer has been advocating for the rights of vulnerable people for more than twenty years. She operates her own law office in Lake Oswego, Oregon and specializes in family, juvenile, special education, and guardianship law.
Sonya held the position of Director of State and Federal Legislative Affairs for the Oregon Department of Human Services during the 2011 Legislative session in Salem, and was the recipient of the Rising Star Super Lawyer Award for 2010-2011.
But the road to this vital and fulfilling career was anything but easy. When Sonya attended Warner Pacific College from 1985 to 1988, she was a young mother caring for a daughter with significant challenges who faced a life of permanently delayed cognitive development.
The Warner Pacific community became a key source of support and encouragement for Sonya. She majored in sociology and social work and started a support group for other parents of children with disabilities. That led to an opportunity to work as a case manager with Multnomah County. She went on to complete a master's degree in Public Administration from Portland State University in 1993.
Sonya gained valuable political experience at the State Capitol working as legislative assistant in the 1990s. With the help of other mothers, Sonya brought concerns before the Department of Human Services about the lack of state support available for families and children with severe disabilities. Eventually, the State Legislature passed landmark reform to provide for in-home care for these children and their families.
This work inspired Sonya to complete a law degree at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland in 2002. She is currently a board member of Disability Rights Oregon, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and the Vice President of the Clackamas Women Lawyers. She is married to her husband, Kirk, and has three children, Christine, Joy, and Nathan.
For her deep commitment to working on behalf of families and children, Warner Pacific is pleased to welcome Sonya into the circle of distinguished alumni, this day, Saturday, February 11, 2012.