Taylor refused to let the spinal surgeries that halted her potential college softball career to hold her back from being successful. When she started walking before doctors expected her to gain back full control of her motor skills, she showed people she refused to slow down.
Taylor has been a trailblazer since the day she arrived to the Forty Acres. Now in her senior year of college, Taylor has a few more months to enjoy her days as a UT Longhorn. Originally from Missouri City, a suburb outside of Houston, Taylor says she quickly fell in love with Austin and the University of Texas after visiting. Although the initial visits were as a potential softball recruit, Taylor admired UT for its academics.
“I love it here. I wouldn’t change it for anything. Everything happens for a reason,” Taylor says.
The journalism and political communication major aspires to work in the media or with the government after she graduates in May. Taylor has gone to China, Washington D.C., New Orleans and several other cities through her student experiences.
But Gateway was the foundation to her successful path. Taylor went on the study abroad Maymester program in Beijing and did research on social entrepreneurship. While in China, she created a film on the miseducation in Beijing, which made it to the semifinals in the IES abroad program, which is a group that fosters study abroad programs and has an annual film competition. The Gateway faculty has been Taylor’s family on the UT campus.
“I can ask Dr.Lu’s help for anything. Dr. Bumphus is like my mom away from home. And Dr. Moore is like my uncle,” Taylor says.
She spent a semester in Washington, D.C. through the Archer Fellowship program and worked for the political network CSPAN. Following her Washington adventure, Taylor immediately applied to the New York Times institute and was accepted. Through the New York Times Institute, Taylor was given the opportunity to be a local reporter in the city of New Orleans and used digital media to cover her stories.
Taylor plans to pack up her journalism equipment for a few months, and pack for a different journey— a 4,000-mile long journey, that is.
This summer, Taylor will ride to Alaska with Texas 4000, a non-profit organization that selects students for an 18-month program where riders train and help lead the fight against cancer. She says she is riding for her aunt and those affected by the disease.
Reflecting back on her experiences, Taylor is amazed at how quickly the years at the University of Texas went by. If she could give any freshman a piece of advice it would be to write a “game-plan” down of goals and achievements you want to accomplish as a Longhorn.
Walk, run, or if you fall down get back up and chase your dreams. Just don’t let anything slow you down, she says.
Texas at Austin. She works part-time at the Austin American-Statesman as a web producer
and is also a tutor at the LCAE Journalism Writing Support Program. She’s active with
Texas Student TV and has previously worked for CNBC and KXAN News. You can follow
her on Twitter: @cassandrajar.