College of HHD

HHD Staff Profiles Series: Baldemar Soto

June 21, 2023

baldemar soto with student mayra velazquez-jacoboLeft: Baldemar Soto with student Mayra Valezquez-Jacobo who nominated him for the 2023 CSUN Ambassadors Polished Apple Award.

Baldemar Soto is an EOP Coordinator/Academic Advisor in the HHD Student Services Center/EOP office. He started his journey at CSUN five years ago with the Advising Resource Center/EOP advising exploratory students before he came to the College of Health and Human Development Student Services Center/EOP. This spring he was recognized by the University Ambassadors with the Polished Apple Award. 

This spring semester he was recognized by the University Ambassadors with the Polished Apple Award. The award is given every year to faculty and advisors from across the campus. The students make the nominations and, once the selections are made, formally present the awards to the recipients at the Polished Apple Awards event. The award recognizes exemplary teaching, mentorship and positive impact on students' lives. Baldemar was nominated by one of his EOP students, Mayra Velazquez-Jacobo. 

We asked Baldemar for some insight into his work.

HHD: Who do you interact with mostly, day to day?

BS: I interact with many students, both EOP and non-EOP from all majors of HHD, as well as staff, parents and community resources.

HHD: What is most meaningful to you about your work?

BS: The most meaningful part of work for me is helping out a student and being a resource for them. It brings me great joy when a student tells me that because of my guidance they did that or I assisted them in a way no one has. 

As a first generation EOP student myself, academic advisement was always and will continue to be an important piece of a student’s life. I learned this because of my academic advisor: Claudia Richarte. A student becomes more involved in their academics by learning what an Academic Advisor has to teach. 

It brings me happiness to be working for EOP as an EOP Academic Advisor as I am an EOP student as well. The student interactions are the best part of my job and making a positive impact on the student's academic and personal life.

HHD: What kind of input from others makes your day the best for you? What is the most rewarding thing about your job? What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

BS: I mainly hear positive feedback from the students I advise. There are times I have never met with a student and I ask them how they came across my name to set up an advisement session and they respond with, “my friend highly recommended you to me.” 

It also brings me great joy when a student tells me, “Because of you I know how to read my degree progress report” or that I made their day by being there for them. The most rewarding part of my job are the positive interactions with students like mentioned above. 

One of the challenging aspects of the job is when students do not follow up and begin to ghost me or disappear. Another challenging aspect is when I hear that a student had a negative interaction on campus. The negative interaction can be hurtful to the student and can cause double the work for someone or even break the trust of the student. The good thing is that the student will tell me that my interaction was way better than their previous one and they ask if they could continue to meet with me. My response is that my door is always open.

HHD: would you like to say anything about your outside interests beyond work?

BS: Aside from being an EOP Coordinator and Academic Advisor. I am also a full-time parent. My hobbies consist of being with my little ones, playing video games with and without them, and collecting Lego/action figures.

HHD: Do you have any professional accomplishments to share? Is there anything else you would like this brief profile to say about you?

BS: I am about to reach my 5 year marker here at California State University Northridge. I was nominated for the Student Success Champion 2021 by an anonymous student. 

HHD: Congratulations! Thank you for this interview!

BS: You're welcome! Have an awesome rest of the day!

Jean O'Sullivan with Baldemar Soto