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Alumni Spotlight

In Their Shoes

Caring for tiny patients and their families in Texas Children’s Hospital’s neurosurgery unit is something Laura Soto says she’s not quite ready to give up. A graduate of San Jacinto College’s CNA (certified nursing assistant), LVN (licensed vocational nursing) and LVN/ Paramedic transition to ADN (associate degree nursing) programs, Soto’s foundation in nursing led her to discovering her ultimate passion - teaching nurses.

nursing studentLast year, Soto completed her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. She returned to San Jacinto College in the fall as an adjunct faculty in the College’s ADN program.

“Teaching is a great middle ground for nurses,” she said. “You’re still helping people, just in a different way. There’s a lot of psychosocial and emotional components you have to incorporate in order to provide the best care for your patient. Bedside nursing is such an integral function of successful patient care, and that’s something I emphasize to my students in the classroom and in their clinicals.”

Having stood in the same shoes as her ADN students, Soto uses that to her advantage. “I have more insight on what they’re meant to get out of this program, so I make sure they’re getting the most out of their educational investment.”

As a practicing pediatric neurology nurse, Soto added that being aware of the city’s rich diversity also serves as a great training ground for nurses. “Since Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, chances are your patients will come from many different cultures. You have to be willing to respect and adapt to that. There’s something new and interesting to learn every day.”


Emily Choate and Amber TylerIgniting the Spark

Emily Choate and Amber Tyler demonstrate that women can excel in the male-dominated welding industry. The education and career paths of the two are remarkably similar.

Both earned welding associate degrees from San Jacinto College and now work as full-time welding instructors for the College. They both had successful welding careers before returning to their alma mater to teach. The “dynamic duo” of San Jac Certified graduates describe the benefits they find the most rewarding.

“To me, welding is like going to the gym,” said Choate. “Yes, it is work, but when you get done, you feel good about what you accomplished.”

Tyler says women have certain traits that can help them to excel as welders. “Women are good at communication, have a lot of patience, and tend to have an eye for detail,” she said. “Those qualities are important for anyone who wants to consistently make quality welds.”