Taylor Robinson, Class of 2017

Taylor Robinson has seized every opportunity available to her during her four years at The Ellis School. She’s Vice President of the Student Diversity League, a Cum Laude Society member, and a stand-out Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science winner, to only name a few. With an impressive list of academic achievements under her belt and lofty goals for her future, Taylor is set to attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall as a Stamps Scholar where she'll work towards her dream of becoming a doctor. With plans to merge her love of science and communications, Taylor shares how Ellis prepared her for her next chapter.
How do you feel your Ellis education prepared you for college?
Being in the smaller Ellis community has actually broadened my views in so many ways. The diversity has prepared me to talk to anyone I might meet in college. Being able to work so closely with my teachers at Ellis has been instrumental as well. I’ve always been very adamant about forming close teacher relationships as part of my schooling and I want to, and plan to, continue that in college. Ellis taught me to make the most of school and take advantage of all the resources available.

What have you learned about leadership from Ellis?
Ellis taught me that leadership comes from having confidence in your opinion. And using that confidence to be able to listen to other people and share perspectives without creating conflict. It’s very important to express yourself even if you think it might contrast with other people’s views because it contributes to the larger conversation. To be a leader, it’s important to have an open mind, listen, and back up your own beliefs with facts.

Was there a teacher or teachers at Ellis who had a particularly strong influence on your life?
I have a strong relationship with all of my teachers, but I would have to say Ms. Yam, Ms. Dotson, and Ms. Holtgraver. Ms. Holtgraver and Ms. Dotson wrote all of my college recommendations and helped me through the entire application process. They read my essays and provided constructive criticism and feedback to make them better. Ms. Yam is my advisor and gave me advice and support through the college process as well. Being in her advisee group has been a great experience, and we talk about all kinds of things from politics to personal beliefs. It’s nice to be able to talk about what’s going on in my life, apart from academics, with her.

For Ellis students reading this: is there any wisdom you want to pass on to them? What do you want them to know?
Seize the day! There are so many opportunities available at Ellis and because of them I’ve had the chance to seek opportunities outside of school as well. Also, don’t be discouraged by your SAT scores or GPA. It’s not the only thing that matters when applying to colleges, personality plays a huge role as well. When you’re able to talk to an admissions counselor or speak with students, you never know who might vouch for you in the admissions process.

What is your best Ellis memory?
My favorite memories at Ellis have come from Culture Jam. I have gone to small schools my entire life, but I love huge crowds and the event brings thirty area schools together. At Culture Jam, people from different backgrounds and beliefs come together to talk about diverse topics and discuss current issues. Seeing students come together and opening those doors has been instrumental to my own success.

What has been your favorite class at Ellis?
It’s hard to pick just one, I have loved all of my science and English courses at Ellis. During my junior year, one of my favorite classes was AP Chemistry with Ms. Holtgraver. Taking that class played a role in choosing my college major. I love the English classes at Ellis as well because we read diverse books and have thoughtful discussions about racial and social awareness. The interdisciplinary focus at Ellis has been incredibly beneficial to me. As a result, I’m very interested in social relationships, law, journalism, science, and medicine.

What will you miss most about Ellis?
My teachers. I’ve formed strong relationships with all of them and consider them friends. I will carry the relationships I’ve made with them with me to college. The strong support system I’ve gained through the Ellis community has been amazing. Without the teachers, I don’t know where I’d be and I thank them for all of their help! Also, I will miss Mrs. Newham. She’s one of the nicest people I have ever met, and she always asks me questions about myself and my life. I appreciate her so much because I feel she values my perspective as a student and has never been condescending. She really listens to what people have to say.

If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
David Muir or Pope Francis. David Muir is my all-time favorite journalist. He doesn’t just go into different environments as an outsider, he assimilates to the culture and really tries to understand people from different backgrounds with different perspectives. As for Pope Francis, I’d like to interview him about the way he’s guiding the Catholic faith in a new direction.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Opportunistic. Humorous. Opinionated.

What woman inspires you and why?
I would say for sure Elizabeth Warren. I look forward to her criticism on our political system and I love that she goes out of her way to share her opinion.

What is the last book you read?
I just finished Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and I’ve also recently read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The latter I used for my English thesis which focused on representations of liberation in African American novels. One book that I plan on reading is Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders. I would also recommend The Bottle in the Kitchen by Barbara Nesbitt.
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