Living along the U.S.-Mexico border as a little girl, Faith Soto would often see U.S. Border Patrol vehicles traveling along Rio Grande Valley highways, and she would tell her mom she was going to work there someday.
Fast forward several years, the Brownsville native is on her way to fulfilling her dream as a recent graduate of the Criminal Justice program at Texas Southmost College.
“When I was a little girl, I saw law enforcement as the people who brought bad people to justice,” the 20-year-old remembered. “As I grew up, I did my research and began to realize everything that law enforcement officers did to help protect us, our borders and our communities. I was hooked.”
Soto, upon graduating from high school, where she also took criminal justice classes and participated in TSC’s Law Enforcement Expo, said being familiar with TSC and its Criminal Justice program encouraged her to enroll.
“College caught me off guard. I didn’t know what to expect as the first person in my family to go to college,” said Soto. “But TSC, my instructors in particular, calmed my nerves. Now I’m a first-generation college graduate.”
Soto added that TSC’s Criminal Justice program exceeded all of her expectations.
“Not only did we learn about the criminal justice system, but we learned a lot about ourselves too,” she said. “We learned about our strengths. We experienced personal growth that laid a foundation of confidence and encouragement to keep following our dreams and to continue learning.”
Taking with her the lessons and the wealth of knowledge shared by her experienced criminal justice instructors, Soto set out to earn a bachelor’s degree in the same field.
“Suddenly, everything seems and feels possible,” said Soto. “Now, not only do I want a bachelor’s degree, but I also want a master’s degree and I have a newfound dream.”
In addition to pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, Soto’s newfound dream is to work with the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit.
“I want to learn why people do what they do,” she said. “Before fulfilling this dream, there’s one that I have to fulfill first – becoming a border patrol agent.”
Soto said she plans on staying local to serve the community in which she was born and raised.
“I want to connect with our community on a new level,” said Soto. “I want to serve and protect our area, gain experience and do more community outreach about safety and to encourage other girls and women to serve alongside me.”
The recent May graduate said it still feels surreal thinking how much closer she is to achieving her dream, and she wants others to know that anything is possible.
“Although the number of women in criminal justice is increasing, it is still primarily a male-dominated career,” she said. “That is intimidating to some, but I want to remind others like me to not be afraid. They need to always believe in themselves and have a positive mindset. We can do the job just as well, if not better.”
Soto added that she’s thankful to TSC and the Criminal Justice program for helping her realize this and opening up more doors of opportunity than she could have ever imagined.
Visit TSC’s Criminal Justice program for more information.