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Raymond Soto

Raymond Soto, English/Writing

UMass Lowell Ray Soto English Graduate
“I’m able to do something that actually matters to someone--it's no longer just a grade.”
You can learn and practice your skills in the classroom, but to really put them to use, leaving campus and entering the real world is a great opportunity. That’s what Raymond Soto realized in his Writing in the Community course. Soto’s assignment— to profile staff and a teen member at the Boys & Girls Club of Lowell— helped him explore the options an English degree offers and gave him insight into his community.

The project required Soto to make connections with the Lowell community and expand beyond the focus of his English classes. He conducted interviews with his subjects and wrote profiles of them for the Club’s annual report and other materials.

“One of the most important things I learned was how much I needed to leave the classroom in order to keep growing, professionally and personally,” Soto says. “The project with the Club required me to leave the University and travel to the facilities. Doing so gave me a fresh perspective on Lowell and the people that live here. I also learned a lot of things about the world of work that just can't be taught in a conventional classroom-based course, including time management and consistent, professional communication.”

Soto’s work now appears on the Club’s website. It not only helps the organization build support for their programs but also shares success stories.

While Soto began his time at the University as an engineering student, he switched to the English department early on to pursue interests in literature and communication.

“I knew immediately after I switched my major to English that I had made the right decision for myself,” Soto says. “I consider it to be one of the best things I've ever done.” 

Soto has combined his skills to work in manufacturing while he considers his next step either into the workforce or to graduate school. Whichever way his career takes him, Soto is ready for the challenge.

“I would not be able to perform my job without a degree in English to pair with my technical background,” says Soto. “While the real world has proved less kind than my college career, I do feel that my time at the University has given me the tools I need to confront it.”