AAP Reaps Award and Staffing

Photo of Pablo Soto

After receiving funding from a California State University (CSU) Action Research Grant in 2013, Academic Advising Programs (AAP) was able to hire a staff member to focus on low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority student advising. Pablo Soto was hired in January 2016 as a student services professional to fill the role.

In his new position, Soto will focus on bridging the achievement gap between low-income/first-generation/underrepresented minority students and traditional college students. Currently, Soto is collaborating with multiple departments on campus in an effort to create institutional changes that will allow Chico State to better serve a diverse array of students. Additionally, Soto is conducting interventions with students on multiple platforms as it pertains to advising and registration. Future plans include having year-round touch points and interventions with students in an effort to make Chico State’s student body more successful.

Soto was born in Stockton and grew up in Live Oak. He attended Sonoma State for a year before transferring to Chico State as a sophomore. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in sociology and went on to complete a master’s degree in sociology at CSU, Bakersfield in 2011.

While attending Chico State, Soto worked as a resident advisor for Upward Bound for three years. During that time, he met Sao Thao, also a resident advisor for Upward Bound and a native of Chico. The couple became engaged in 2012 during a family visit in Guadalajara, Mexico. They were married in 2014 in San Francisco. Between 2012 and 2014, Soto worked as an assistant resident community coordinator in housing at Chico State, creating and improving programs to better foster a sense of community. During that time, Sao continued to work in the Bay Area.

“Long distance relationships do work,” said Soto. “We did it for four years; two years while I was in grad school and two years while I worked for housing at Chico State.”

Photo of Soto outside Napa tunnel on bikeSoto also has worked at Diablo Valley Community College for over two years as a coordinator, where he was able help shape the new Upward Bound program. But the couple wanted to start a family and had hopes of doing so in Chico. The AAP position has helped them move toward accomplishing that goal. It also brought Soto closer to his family, who still lives in Live Oak.

An avid soccer enthusiast, Soto can often be found in the WREC playing soccer with students during the week. He loves the outdoors and considers himself adventuresome. Soto and Sao once biked from Chico to San Francisco even though they “don’t really cycle.” It was just something they decided to try.

Their adventure included walking their bikes through several tunnels in the Napa Valley hills.

Photo of Soto hiking“While riding our bikes through Napa, we decided it was too dangerous to ride on such narrow roads,” said Soto. “We decided to walk our bikes on the railroad tracks.”

The couple loves to camp and has an annual tradition of camping at Yosemite National Park. They also enjoy hiking along the Lost Coast and the isolation that it provides.

“We love to take our dog everywhere we go, but certain trails don’t allow pets,” said Soto. “The Lost Coast is perfect for some isolation, beautiful scenery, and to have your pets roam free.”

Photo of Sotos and dogThese days, Soto is still traveling between San Francisco and Chico on the weekends until Sao finds work in the Chico area. Until then, camping is likely on hold. But stop by the AAP office and ask about what camping spots and hiking trails Soto recommends.