Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Taylor Jones is pursuing her B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in Psychology and expects to graduate this May. She will be continuing her journey at Florida Tech to pursue her master’s in Conservation Technology as part of FITs FastTrack program. She is an active member and has held leadership roles in Tri Beta Biological Honor Society, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Order of Omega, and FIT Buddies. She is also an FIT Ambassador and a member of a few other clubs and honor societies.
Taylor is currently an aquarium intern at the Marine Resources Council and is an aviary keeper’s aid volunteer at the Brevard Zoo.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are you passionate about?
I never quite know how to answer this question, but I would describe myself as an animal lover, a bookworm, a loyal friend, a Netflix enthusiast, and a travel addict. My biggest passion in life is definitely travelling. The quote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” couldn’t be more accurate. Nothing thrills me more than exploring new places (whether they are on land or under water), experiencing new cultures, and learning about people that are different (yet very much the same, as I have discovered) from myself. In life, my main goal is to leave the world a little better than I found it. Whether it is in a future career, or volunteering for causes that inspire me, I hope to leave a positive impact on the world and those around me.
Throughout my four years at FIT, I have been working to push myself out of my comfort zone – skydiving tackled my fear of heights, joining a sorority pushed me to open up to 40+ strangers that I now cannot imagine my life without, travelling to a remote area of the Amazon Rainforest on a field course showed me that some of the most intimidating things are also the most rewarding, night diving on a field course helped me face my fear of the dark and the unknown, and becoming a Florida Tech ambassador pushed me to develop public speaking skills that I desperately needed. As my time as an FIT undergrad comes to a close, I look at this place with such gratitude for shaping me into the strong, smart, adventure seeking woman that I am today.
What inspired you to pursue a STEM education and career?
Growing up, my favorite subjects were always science and math. I loved problem solving and was always fascinated and engaged in these classes. In high school, I took an AP Biology class and fell in love with the subject. As a child, most of my science and math teachers were women, so I was pretty lucky to always have strong female role models who showed me that I was capable of being successful in this field.
What do think are some of the most shared/common challenges women in STEM fields encounter?
In my opinion, because it is still a male dominated industry, the most common challenge for women in STEM fields is that they are not always taken as seriously as men. As a woman in this field, I hope to be judged by the quality of my work and by my character as a human being, not by my gender.
How have you overcome obstacles/challenges as a woman in STEM?
Being a woman in STEM, it is important to be confident when working with others. Throughout childhood and adolescence, I struggled with self-confidence. However, since coming to college and pursuing a STEM major, I have learned to be a much more independent and confident person. I have learned how to be a leader, I have learned how to effectively speak in public, and most importantly, I have learned to have faith in myself that I am capable and self-sufficient. Being a woman in STEM is not always easy, but I am a much stronger woman because of it.
Knowing what you know now, what advice you would give your younger self?
Be confident in your abilities and trust your instincts when decision making. You have a strong voice and good ideas, so don’t be afraid to share them.
What one takeaway would you want to impart on a young woman thinking of pursuing an education/career in STEM?
Believe in yourself. If it’s something you are passionate about, don’t look back.
What is an aspect of being a woman in STEM you were surprised to discover?
I was surprised to see the low number of female professors in my department. The professors in the Biology department have been amazing teachers and mentors, but I had expected to have more female professors before coming to college due to the large number of female teachers I had growing up.
In your experience, what are the top things leaders could do to encourage more young women to enter STEM fields?
In my opinion, it is most important for girls to have strong leaders and role-models in the field, starting at a young age, so they never have to question if they would be able to do it too.