Friday, April 3, 2015

Precious Gem: Taylor Liu

Taylor Liu is this week’s Precious Gem! She is a Cell Biology and Genetics major, and plans to go on to medical school after graduation. I asked her how she liked her classes, and it’s clear she has a passion for biology. As a freshman, Taylor is not on a team yet, but she proposed Team OSCAR (Optimizing Siderophores for Commercially Applicable Relevance), the continuation of Team SILVER’s work. She said she was attracted to this project because it is building off prior research, and it has the potential for a tangible outcome. Team OSCAR is currently combining their proposal with that of another team, Team GASTRIC, but Taylor seemed to be looking forward to this process and the additional perspective that they should bring.

As our conversation moved away from Gemstone, it became clear that one thing that makes Taylor exceptional is her commitment to helping others. We often see her frequently helping her fellow freshmen with homework in the Ellicott lounges. I learned, however, that she takes this skill out of the residence hall by being involved with America Reads. In addition, she’s taking a class in “Urban Education and Social Justice” this semesterm, and she says she’s enjoying it greatly. To be in the class, one is required to be a volunteer with America Reads/America Counts, but students learn much more than methods of tutoring. The class involves reading articles and then presenting on topics including social justice, developmental psychology, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Students are also preparing for a reflection workshop at the end of the semester involving all the mentors in the program.

This past Spring Break, she went with Alternate Breaks to a charter school in Chicago to help students and study how the school operates. The best part of her trip was her fellow students: she said they had a two-hour reflection session each night, so they got to know each other well. Taylor says she doesn’t want to go on to a career in teaching, but the trip gave her an understanding and appreciation of the hard work that teachers do. No matter what she ends up doing, we’re sure she’ll bring a commitment to helping others and a fierce intellectual curiosity.

-3 April, 2015 - Elliot Frank

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