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Student Spotlight: Giselle Vazquez-Soto Combines A Passion for Health Care and Finance

giselle vazquez-soto student spotlight

By Cameron Davis, intern

TAMPA (January 10, 2022) -- Giselle Vazquez-Soto, a senior majoring in finance at the USF Muma College of Business, has big career dreams that land somewhere between the dynamic worlds of business and health care.

While she is enjoying her last few months at the University of South Florida, her long list of leadership roles and volunteer work has been so varied that even a Venn diagram couldn’t explain the connections.

She has volunteered at Moffitt Cancer Center, been a peer leader in the Muma College of Business’s Corporate Mentor Program and continues to work as a student accounting assistant for the USF Institute of Applied Engineering. She took part in the Collegiate Leadership Program through the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.

She also found time to be a research assistant for political analyst Susan McManus, served as treasurer of the International Student Association, and volunteered as a Spanish translator for the BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic at USF Health. She even made time to volunteer in the Healthy Buddy Program at the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research.

“I branched out and did things I never thought I would do,” Vazquez-Soto said.

Varied, yet purposeful, all her roles and opportunities make sense to her. She hopes to use that experience and all she has learned in the classroom as a springboard for success. She said she keeps her plate full — with academics, work, and volunteerism — in part because of her family’s humble beginnings. Plus, she has a difficult time saying “no” to opportunities.

Her family history in Tampa began when her great aunt immigrated from Cuba and started to work in the factories in Ybor City rolling cigars. Years later, her parents also came to the U.S. to escape the hardships of Cuba, settling in Tampa.

Knowing the hardships her family faced has only made her more determined to succeed, she said. She’s now making her family proud as a first-generation college student. “I’m more grateful for the position that I’m in after hearing what they’ve gone through.”  

She says it’s important to step out of one’s comfort zone. She believes you can gain somethings valuable from every experience. And without that drive to explore the unknown, she wouldn’t have pushed herself to excel far beyond any goal she set for herself.

Vazquez-Soto said she would advise any student to take advantage of opportunities, no matter what. “Always be willing to try things not in your realm,” she says. That mentality has made her feel fulfilled with all she’s accomplished at USF.

Inspired by her family’s journey and passion for helping others, she believes that anyone can persevere if they fight for what they want. In her eyes, anything is possible. After graduation, Vazquez-Soto’s goal is to earn a medical degree as well as a master’s degree in business administration.

“There’s nothing that I can’t do. There’s nothing that anyone here at USF can’t do,” she said.