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SOTO

House Description

Address: 
658 Escondido Rd, Stanford, CA 94305
Location: 
East Campus
Complex: 
Wilbur Hall
Preassignment: 
No

Photograph of Soto House Staff at campus opening 2017-18 in JPG format.

Soto is an all-freshman dorm located on the east side of campus, in the community of dormitories known together as Wilbur Hall.

The house is comprised of one-room doubles, with one-room singles available under special condition.

In addition to two Resident Fellows (RFs), Soto has six student staff members. The entire staff team (RFs and student staff) support the 85 freshmen residents who reside there. Soto is located at the northeast corner of Wilbur Hall.

Many in-dorm activities and “off-the-farm” events are planned throughout the year for both intellectual and recreational purposes.

Resident Fellows

Resident Fellow Names: 
Karen Hirsch and Tony Forte

Photograph of 2019-20 RF Family in JPG format.

Karen and Tony are the Resident Fellows at Soto House. We have been RFs since 2019 and we are excited to share the Soto community with residents and student staff. 

Karen is a neurocritical care physician who divides her time between clinical care in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit, research on cardiac arrest and severe traumatic brain injury, and administration. Growing up with professors for parents, being a part of an academic ecosystem has long been a key component of her identity. Karen and Tony met as undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University. They were both college athletes (soccer and water polo) and Karen majored in Neuroscience and Mathematics. After attending medical school at Stanford, Karen trained in Neurology at Johns Hopkins and Neurocritical Care at UCSF. She joined the faculty at Stanford in Neurology and Neurosurgery in 2012. Karen views the innovative collaborative spirit of Stanford as one of the greatest benefits of working here. In addition to her academic work, she enjoys raising her two children, taking advantage of the California climate by being active outdoors, and supporting Stanford clubs and sports. 

Tony, a Bay Area native, has a background in finance and works in clean tech. He has spent time on both coasts, first in Baltimore as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins where he majored in economics, and then in New York working as an investment banker.  He eventually returned to California and completed an MBA from the University of Southern California. He has been back in the Bay Area since 2010, holding a variety of positions at clean technology companies focused on solar and battery storage projects. While not working on transitioning the world to sustainable energy, he enjoys spending time with Karen and their two kids, traveling and eating in new places, being in the mountains, cooking and a good bowl of ramen. 

As RFs, we enjoy working together with staff and residents to build a shared inclusive community. College is a time to grow and learn, and our goal is to foster an environment that supports that process. 

Community Information

Residence Type: 
Frosh

Photograph of Soto House in JPG format.

What’s the coolest thing about your house and community?

We value the welcoming Soto community. The residents truly foster a sense of engagement and openness based on mutual respect. The Soto student staff are the leaders in setting the tone for the community, working with the RFs and ResEd as a highly effective team but also as a fun support network and family of sorts. The dorm is a home and the Soto lounge is like the “family room.”  Residents are always present studying (or so they say!), binge-watching the latest Netflix/Hulu/Amazon series, playing pool or ping pong, and just hanging out together.  

What qualities make a successful Soto staff team member? 

Successful Soto staff members bring varying attributes. We value diversity in strengths and personalities and believe that diversity contributes to team success. Soto staff will be friendly, open to mentorship and feedback, accountable, responsible, and committed to building a sense of community within Soto. We believe Soto student staff should be on the front-line setting the standards and leading the house.  Dorm activities involve a mix of informal fun and planned, intentional programming. Staff members should be enthusiastic about initiating and leading activities for the house. They should help the frosh build a community rather than hoping to re-live their own freshman year. They should be willing and able to engage in self-reflection; listen to and apply constructive feedback; make mature and difficult decisions that support the house values; enjoy getting to know the students in the house in meaningful ways; and be willing to communicate openly, honestly, and frequently with RFs and other staff. 

What’s your favorite event or tradition in your house? 

We enjoy sharing our time with students through planned activities like pumpkin carving, RF faculty dinners in the cottage, and holiday cookie baking, and we value the camaraderie of sharing routine meals and conversations in the dining hall. The student staff plan a variety of larger dorm events, ranging from overnight trips to local day outings (kayaking in the Monterey Bay, visiting museums in San Francisco, camping in Yosemite, etc). The “best” tradition is the one waiting to be established!