Brenda Soto ’17 found her success outside of her comfort zone, but she wouldn’t have ended up there without the encouragement of her professors and mentors at Simpson College.
In fact, it was Dr. Alison Wolf who sparked Brenda’s interest in midwifery and set her on her way for majoring in biology at Simpson and pursuing her nursing degree at Allen College following graduation. She didn’t want to be just any midwife, however. Brenda wants to be a bilingual one, working in diverse communities.
“My Spanish professors, Tracy Dinesen and Mark Bates, were also really influential in pushing me to do my best in Spanish. It was in their classes that I really knew I wanted to use the language in my future field of work,” she said.
As influential as her professors were, Brenda’s real Simpson experience revolved around her involvement on campus. She was an active member of several organizations like Latinos Unidos, Best Buddies, Sexual Assault Response Advocates, Pre-Health Society, Love Your Melon and the Multicultural Student Alliance.
But the one she was most invested in? The one she credits with teaching her to to a leader and a professional understanding of diverse cultures? Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, for which she is one of the founding members. Years of hard work finally paid off on April 20, 2017, when SLG attained chapter status at Simpson, one of Brenda’s favorite memories.
“My whole Simpson experience has revolved around SLG and I would not change that for the world,” she said. “To know that I was one of the women who brought a multi-cultural sorority to campus that other women can find a home in.”
Brenda had plenty on campus to keep her busy, but still she wanted more. So the Wells, Minnesota-native set off for South America to spend a semester studying abroad in Argentina.
“I will forever remember my time abroad and how much I grew as person because I had this wonderful opportunity and was granted the Gilman Scholarship to travel to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil within 4 months,” Brenda said.
All the while, save her semester abroad, Brenda worked at The Village, a nursing home in Indianola. She believes and proves that anything is possible at Simpson College.
“If you have a dream or a goal that you want to accomplish then Simpson is the place for you,” she said. “With a smaller campus you are allowed to do so much like study abroad or even bring a multi-cultural sorority or fraternity to campus. There are endless opportunities.”