Sonja Lilienthal
Sonja  Lilienthal

Alma Mater:
University of Sydney, 1988


The San José State Student-Athlete Academic Success office added more than 20 years of experience in higher education from across the country and around the globe by adding Dr. Sonja Lilienthal as an academic learning specialist in July of 2015.

Dr. Lilienthal joined the athletics academic success staff after spending the previous 12 years on the main campus at San José State as both a graduate and undergraduate professor and advisor in the departments of Kinesiology, and Marketing.

Lilienthal currently supports all athletics teams outside of football, with a focus on the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Her support includes: study skills, note taking, writing techniques, goal setting and bringing light to teachers’ perspectives and expectations.

Lilienthal brings a proactive and forward-thinking teaching style pulling from an extensive academic background that includes a Ph.D. in sport management and consumer behavior from Ohio State University. Lilienthal, a native Australian, received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Sydney (1988) before continuing with a master’s degree in sport management from Penn State 1991.

Beyond her instructing schedule at SJSU, Lilienthal has been the faculty advisor for a number of student clubs, and the academic advisor for more than 300 students, including 25 master’s degree projects and a vast number of internships. Today, more than 70 of her students are actively working in intercollegiate athletics, professional sports and other segments of the sports business industry.

Once a student-athlete on the Australian University women’s water polo team, Lilienthal also competed for her country’s Under 21 National Water Polo team. Her international sport scope continued when she worked in an event management role during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., and the 2000 games in Sydney.

Lilienthal now calls downtown San Jose, Calif., home, located minutes away from her office in the YUH Building on the main campus.