MARIETTA—Washington State Community College’s (WSCC) Radiologic Technology student Alexis Casto 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, nor 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 skillfully 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,” admitted the 21-year-old. 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 Ravenwood, WV. When she enrolled at WSCC 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 fiancé 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 laughed. 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.” Ultimately, her goal is to continue her education and advance into the field of ultrasound.
The two-year Radiologic Technology Program features a Marietta Memorial Hospital-sponsored Certificate Award program with articulation to Washington State Community College for an Associate of Applied Science degree. The Certificate (of Completion), awarded by Marietta Memorial Hospital, allows students to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (A.R.R.T.) credentialing exam to become a Registered Radiologic Technologist. The college is currently accepting applications for admissions into the program for Fall 2022. For details visit wscc.edu/radiologic-technology.