Grad Profile: Kelly Soto

Kelly Soto is a graduating nursing student from Ontario, California. She transferred to WOU from Chemeketa Community College, where she completed her nursing prerequisites and obtained her Associate Arts of Oregon Transfer degree. As an outstanding WOU 2020 graduate, we interviewed Soto about her college experience and future plans.


What has your experience been like as a first-generation student?

Soto depicted from her side profile, smiling at the camera, the photo filtered in black and white.
Kelly Soto

Yes, I am a first-generation student. For me, that whole experience has been both inspiring and intimidating at times! Of course, you want to make your family proud and to accomplish your dreams, yet this can really be challenging when you tackle nursing courses. Nursing school is a whole other world compared to any subjects or majors out there, and it literally takes everything you’ve got and then some more. However, I have no regrets about my career and have come to be at peace with the knowledge that I have given it my all and not left any stone unturned.


What has been your favorite annual event at WOU? 

My favorite event at WOU is the annual Fall Preview Day where interested and prospective students get to talk to different WOU clubs and organizations. I love it because you get a one-on-one interaction with students and get to answer their questions about college life, classes, and in my case, what it means to be a nursing student. I got the chance to meet some awesome students and hopefully take away any misconceptions they may have had about student nurse life.


Do you have any advice for current and prospective students? 

Don’t be afraid of following your dream, no matter what anyone tells you, or of how much work is involved. Especially if you are interested in nursing; I can promise you that it will take a lot of studying, dedication, and persistence, but if you follow it through, it will be the most amazing journey of your life.


What is your favorite building on campus?

My favorite building on campus is by far the Ted Winter’s building (aka the math and science building) because all of our nursing courses took place there on the second floor. Yep, a lot of blood, sweat, tears (and yes, joys as well) took place in that building.


What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

My biggest achievement was when I made it into the international honor society in nursing.

Three students of varying heights standing side by side, partially embracing as they smile at the camera.
Soto and two other OHSU peer tutors for pathophysiology and pharmacology. From left to right: Katie Moreland, Paige McBride, and Kelly Soto.

I had worked so hard for so long and it was so nice to celebrate that moment with my family, faculty, and peers. Another moment that was very special to me was the day we all did our TED talks at WOU. My classmates and I had the chance to show our own unique passion for nursing and share that with each other in a creative and informative platform.


Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?

Yep, when I was trying to find my geography class and walked into an ongoing German language class! I thought I had the wrong room, but as it turned out, my geography class was in that same room, I was just a little early. It’s a typical nursing student habit: if you’re not at least half an hour early, you’re considered late!


What are your plans for after graduation? 

My plan is to take my licensing exam as soon as possible and get a nursing job in an acute care setting. There are so many opportunities in nursing and so many places that you can take your career, so the possibilities are many.

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