Sonia has a MS in materials science and a PhD in condensed matter physics from the Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France. She began her career as a Lavoisier fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California in San Diego in 1998, and then joined LLNL in 2001 as a directorate postdoctoral researcher focusing on functional materials and methods for chemical, biological, and radiation sensing. She was appointed a staff scientist in 2002 and became a group leader for the Functional Materials Group in 2006 and the deputy division leader for science & technology in the Chemical Sciences Division in January 2010.
She was appointed deputy division leader at large for the Chemical Sciences Division in March 2012, and was selected as the division leader for the new Nuclear & Chemical Science (NACS) Division in 2015. As the NACS division leader, she oversaw approximately 240 staff members, and defined strategic directions for an organization at the core of LLNL’s nuclear science mission. NACS supports key LLNL programs in global security, stockpile stewardship, and the National Ignition Facility, as well as programs funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and non-DOE sponsors including NASA.
In 2020, Sonia became the deputy associate director for science & technology in the Physical & Life Sciences Directorate, an organization of 1,100 scientists leading fundamental and applied research in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, materials science, nuclear science, climate science, and atmospheric science. In this role, she leads the development and sustainment of critical scientific capabilities, LDRD and ISCP investments, technical reviews, as well as workforce and strategic planning activities.