Taylor Gordon (Class of 2020)

photo of Taylor Gordon

  • junior Political Science major
  • minor in Statistical Methods
  • from McHenry, IL
  • Law and Public Policy Scholar; member of national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega
  • interned twice for Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois' 10th district
  • studying abroad in Luxembourg at Miami's MUDEC campus
"Take full advantage of all that Miami has to offer. This includes research opportunities, clubs and organizations, study abroad and away opportunities, and social events. Don't be afraid to ask for help; it really helps to get to know your professors."

Why Miami?

"Miami's commitment to teaching and experiential learning really set it apart from other universities that I considered. By the time I first visited the campus for a 'Make it Miami' event during my senior year of high school, I was impressed not only with Miami's aesthetic and friendly students and faculty, but also with its reputation for excellence in undergraduate teaching, study abroad participation, and research involvement.

"I was especially interested in opportunities like the Luxembourg and Inside Washington programs, both of which I am participating in this academic year. Another appeal was the size of Miami's student population. In contrast with larger universities, Miami's size allows students to work more closely with professors both within and outside of the classroom. These aspects combined to make Miami the right fit for me."

Best Miami Experiences

Taylor Gordon (second from left) poses in front of Chateau de Differdange, where most Luxembourg classes are held.

"I entered Miami wanting to major in political science, thinking that I might be interested in law school after graduation. I also wanted to pursue a minor in some other discipline but was unsure of which direction to take.

"During my very first semester, I was advised to consider statistics as a complement to my major, which was a path I had never considered. I'd enjoyed math and science in high school and was open to testing the waters with STA 301 [Applied Statistics] during the spring semester of my freshman year. Now, several statistics courses later, I will now graduate with a statistical methods minor and have learned a multitude of methods which I can apply to my study of American politics! My academic and career plans have both evolved to include statistics, so I'm excited to see where this combination takes me.

"Miami students are lucky to have the support of so many wonderful faculty members. Every professor I've met has lived up to the university's reputation for excellent teaching and guidance. Notably, the Law and Public Policy Scholar advisors, Maria Vitullo and Patrick Haney, have provided me with a lot of insight for both my academic and career-related endeavors. In fact, Dr. Haney graciously offered to meet with me during the summer before my freshman year, before I'd even registered for my first classes!

"Associate professor of political science Monica Schneider, whom I work with as a research assistant, has become a great mentor of mine by introducing me to the application of statistical methods in political science research. My work with her has opened my eyes to a world of career opportunities that I had not imagined before. In addition, she was instrumental in my attainment of an internship in this field when I participate in Inside Washington in spring 2019."

Taylor Gordon stands next to a sign for the Women in Law Leadership Symposium (November, 2017).

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"A liberal arts degree is helpful in attaining critical thinking skills, a range of competencies, and a broader global perspective. Students enrolled particularly in the College of Arts and Science study a wide range of subjects, which can include courses involving the humanities, STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math], and social sciences. Our exposure to a variety of topics allows us to examine, think, and connect ideas throughout the pursuit of our degrees. Without a liberal arts degree I wouldn't have had the freedom to explore different disciplines in order to find a minor that suited me.

"My interest in politics and government began in high school, and pursuing my major at Miami has allowed me to delve into the study of public policy, political institutions, and political behavior. I'm particularly interested in the ways that gender and race affect political decisions and shape America’s political system. My study of these topics has been challenging and enlightening every step of the way.

During spring semester of my freshman year, when I realized that my political science major paired well with a statistics minor, I developed an interest in research, and by the start of my sophomore year I was working as a student research assistant conducting data analysis. I look forward to doing an internship next semester to expand my skills in this area and continue on my path to eventual full-time employment doing what I love!"

Research and Experiential Learning Outside the Classroom

Taylor Gordon in Interlaken, Switzerland

"For the past year I've been working as a research assistant for Dr. Schneider in the Department of Political Science. Utilizing the principles attained from my statistical methods minor, I conduct data analysis for several ongoing projects. Currently we are examining women's political ambition, including the causes of women's lack of political ambition and methods to increase their involvement in politics. My work allows me to combine my interests in politics and quantitative analysis.

"Right now I'm studying abroad at the Miami University Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg. Over the course of this semester I've been exposed to different European cultures through study tours, independent travel, and service-learning. This year we are celebrating 50 years of Miami in Luxembourg!

"The festivities include over 700 alumni returning to the MUDEC campus, a special art exhibit featuring former MUDEC students, and a special convocation in which we award the heir apparent of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg with an honorary degree from Miami.

"A major perk of the Luxembourg program is its centrality within Europe, which enables students to travel independently across the continent each weekend. Some of my favorite adventures so far have been my trip to Heidelberg, Germany to explore castle ruins, to Paris for MUDEC's "City of Lights" Discovery Tour, and to Interlaken and Bern, Switzerland to hike in the Swiss Alps. I am looking forward to many more adventures this semester!

"All of these experiences are exactly what I was looking for when deciding on a college — none of them would have been available to me at a different university. I'm looking forward to all of the learning opportunities and challenges that the next couple of years will pose, starting with next semester, when I'll be in DC for the Inside Washington program."

Advice to Students

"My advice is simple: take full advantage of all that Miami has to offer. This includes research opportunities, clubs and organizations, study abroad and away opportunities, and social events. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It really helps to get to know your professors, step out of your comfort zone, and take chances. It's always okay to change your mind, but it will all work out in the end.

"Most importantly though, enjoy the time you have at this great university!"

[September 2018]