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Washington State Community College names July Student of the Month

Alexis Casto has been named Washington County Community College’s July 2022 Student of the Month. (Photo Provided)

MARIETTA — Alexis Casto, a Radiologic Technology student at Washington State Community College’s Radiologic Technology, had to take decisive measures to ensure she could persist as a college student.

The July Student of the Month didn’t let pregnancy, child-rearing, the rising cost of living or soaring gas prices keep her from making a better life for herself and her family.

Casto’s academic journey hasn’t been an easy one. She was balancing her job with the rigors of learning and clinical rotations when, just one semester into her program, her family situation changed.

“When I got pregnant, school seemed impossible,” the 21-year-old said.

The strain of college, work, clinicals and studying took its toll on her pregnant body and ultimately her doctor had to put her on bed rest. It was her determination, organization and strategic planning that got her to the finish line.

“I just needed to get the plan on paper so I knew everything was under control,” Casto said.

Now, as a new mom of 6-month-old Jaxson, Casto has had to give up many things, namely coffee, sleep and milk all in the name of raising a happy and healthy baby. As a full-time student, Casto found the sleep deprivation combined with the elimination of coffee while she’s nursing are especially devastating, but not deal-breakers when it came to maintaining her student status.

It wasn’t until gas prices began to climb that she started to question how she could afford her 108-mile roundtrip commute from Ravenswood, W.Va. When she enrolled at Washington State in 2020, inflation and gas prices were at an all-time low, so traveling four days a week wasn’t a financial burden for her and her fiance Jordan. When the gas pumps began to set her back $600 a month just to drive the 66 minutes to Marietta, the couple made the decision to move away from friends and family and relocate to Parkersburg.

Casto is a first-generation college student and said all the sacrifices will be worth it when she gets her degree.

“It’s been hard, but it’s going to be worth it in the end for Jaxson,” said Casto. “I will be able to support him and give him what he needs and wants in life and give him a good childhood.”

Today, Casto is at the final stretch of her classes and is looking forward to graduation in July. She said she’s “just existing at this point. I’m just a ‘mombie,'” she said.

She added that she’s looking forward to starting her new job in the radiology department at a local hospital because it will mean a change of pace.

“I bet you don’t often hear someone say they’re excited to start working, but it will mean I have fewer things pulling at my time. Life will slow down once I go to work,” she said.

Ultimately, her goal is to continue her education and advance into the field of ultrasound.

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