Today@Sam Article

Commencement Spotlight: Eliana Soto

Aug. 8, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Each semester, the Commencement Spotlight series highlights graduating Bearkats with a “can-do” spirit through challenges and service.

Eliana Soto smCommencement Spotlight: Eliana Soto
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

First-generation student Eliana Soto overcame several difficulties during her last semester at Sam Houston State University. Things suddenly changed when she had to return home to take care of her family’s business. This meant leaving her job on campus and shifting to fully online courses.

“It was my hardest semester throughout my undergrad degree,” Soto said. “I had to sacrifice my time to finish my last semester strong. I wanted to be the best example for my younger sister.”

Soto had to become financially independent and take on more than she ever expected when her mother had to be hospitalized. 

“I wanted to give up at least two or three times a week,” Soto said. “It was hard keeping up with 40 plus hours of work, six classes and my sister to care for.”

While juggling all of the responsibility, Soto was also learning how to be a caregiver earlier in life than she imagined.

“I had the full responsibility of paying for rent, bills, transportation, food and more. It was so hard,” she said. “When my sister was sick, I was the one who had to take time off to care for her and take her to the doctor.”

Even with the demands of home life, she was able to connect with others on campus by working as a student assistant for the ELITE and Evolve office. She also found time to stay active in her sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., where she held the positions of vice president and academic affairs coordinator.

“My sorority sisters supported me every step of the way. Having a loving family helped me deal with all the stress,” she said.

Soto’s dream is to come back to SHSU as a graduate student.

“I would love to come back to the Bearkat family and get my masters in forensics,” Soto said. “I have built so many relationships through my academic career and through my own work family as a student assistant. I will cherish my Sam Houston memories forever.”

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