Tigerville, SC (January 26, 2021) As a high school graduate in a foreign land, Rut Soto Rivera had dim prospects for a shining future. Four years later, with an NGU degree, her prospects were bright.
This year, “Greenville Business Magazine” has named the 2008 NGU alumna to its annual “Best & Brightest 35 and Under” issue. The issue celebrates the women and men who are rising stars in the Greenville business community. Rivera currently shines as the Perinatal Awareness for Successful Outcomes (PASOs) program director for Prisma Health in Greenville.
Born in Venezuela, Rivera moved to the United States at the age of 15. Even though it was challenging, she says, “Greenville took me as one of their own, and I cannot see myself living somewhere else.”
She came to NGU in 2004 to study psychology. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in psychology and Spanish.
“After graduating from high school, I went to interpret for my dad, who is a pastor, at the yearly South Carolina Baptist Convention meeting in Columbia. During the break, we went to look around the exhibition tables in the lobby and met an NGU representative who told me everything I needed to know to attend college,” she said.
“NGU teaches with compassion and love, and that is something I have carried with me throughout my years as a leader and an advocate.”
Because Rivera and her family were new to the U.S., she did not even have a Social Security number. She couldn’t apply for financial aid, and other universities were charging her international student fees, which her family could not afford. She was discouraged and thought that she would not be able to attend college.
“North Greenville not only gave me an International scholarship, but they also provided me with other scholarships and financial assistance where my out-ofpocket expense was small. That was a huge push for me to go to NGU, but what really made it special was how everyone made me feel like part of the family,” she said.
When Rivera started at NGU, she was only four years into her move to the U.S. Moving to a new country where she did not understand the language or its culture was not an easy transition for her.
“I went through a serious time of depression and anxiety that shaped me into who I am. At that time, I wanted to know more about the brain and how it functioned during adversities, and decided to study psychology,” she said.
“Little did I know how much of an impact it would make in my personal life and career.”
Rivera says NGU not only gave her the education she needed to succeed but also allowed her to grow as a leader.
“I was a resident assistant and then a coordinator, which gave me plenty of practice to lead others with love, respect, and compassion. I am forever grateful for the professors and staff who were patient with me,” she said. “NGU teaches with compassion and love, and that is something I have carried with me throughout my years as a leader and an advocate.”
Being a first-generation immigrant led her to do what she loves: helping others like her overcome barriers and obstacles to be able to reach their goals and dreams.
“Working for the Latinx community in Greenville has taught me to stay humble and resilient and never to forget my roots and culture. It has also taught me that no matter what difficulties come my way, I can achieve anything I put my mind and heart into,” Rivera said.
As a working mom, she plans to continue being an example for her children so they can see how gratifying it is to help community members work for a better future.
“To me, giving back to the community means being able to pay forward what others did for me when I moved to the United States. I plan to continue to advocate for our wonderful Latinx community in Greenville County and South Carolina,” she said.
Rivera is a shining example of fulfilling North Greenville’s mission of living out transformational leadership and making a difference in her local community.
Elevate your perspective, explore our programs that produce greatness at ngu.edu/academics.
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