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Taylor is an American student studying Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of Nottingham. She has wide achievements both academically and in terms of sport. Taylor has run several mini marathons for Multiple Sclerosis charities, in aid of her father who suffers from the disease, as well as having significant achievements at collegiate level lacrosse and a long track record of volunteering with hockey. Building a strong community is something Taylor believes is crucial, and hopes to continue a career in Community Relations after graduating. Currently she volunteers with local schools, which she “absolutely loves”. Having been nominated to carry the torch she said she was “surprised, excited, honoured and humbled”. This is another opportunity for Taylor to inspire others, which she says is what the Olympics is really all about.
What was the atmosphere like at the relay?
It was really really good, ten times more than I had expected. There were loads of little kids and locals, the streets were packed, I didn’t expect so many people to be there! We waited for about fifteen minutes, taking pictures and talking to the crowd before the relay, there was so much excitement. It was amazing having complete strangers cheering me on!
What was the crowd like? Who was there?
There were loads of families and little kids, lots of my friends and even some teachers from Nottingham came out in support. My parents also flew over from the US especially for it.
You do a lot of volunteering in primary school in connection with the Olympics, what has this been like? What kind of reception have you got from the school children?
They were all so excited, I brought in the torch and they took pictures next to it. It really made them feel special. I gave a PowerPoint presentation about why I was selected, on the different sports I do, and about my academic side and what I try to do to help inspire others.
Some people argue that the costs of the Olympics outweigh the benefits; do you think this is true?
No I don’t think so, I worked with a primary school that ran a programme on the Olympics that brought in international students to give the kids a cross-cultural experience. They learnt so much about other cultures and also developed a sense of patriotism. The Olympics has a big part to play in inspiring people and making a community.
Building a sense of community is clearly something that is important to you, is this something that you’ve always felt or has it come from your experiences?
It’s something I’ve always felt, as an only child I’ve always tried to involve myself in as many activities as I can to become more rounded. I’ve been involved with sport, music, volunteering. I’m really fortunate for these opportunities. I guess the importance of community was enhanced after international travel, and with my experience in mentoring and teaching classes, but it has always been important to me.
Is community work in the US similar to that in the UK?
The problems facing communities are basically the same, such as unemployment, but there are slightly different ways that people go about dealing with these issues. In America there is an emphasis on philanthropy and making donations, whereas in the UK people are more likely to devote time and resources.
How have you found studying in Nottingham, is it very different to your experience in the US?
Nottingham is more than just school for me, I’ve been involved with the musical, with sport and I’ve been travelling a lot. It’s different in terms of structure to the US, where we look at ‘real life’ situations in business, like case studies and different companies. The UK looks more at the theories and business academics. For me, it’s not just about sitting in the classroom, I like being involved directly, which I have tried to do! I’m currently doing my dissertation with the company Capital One, I’m going to focus on this next year.
What kind of career are you thinking about?
I want to work with a company but in the community relations department, I want to be working on philanthropic activities, where I can be the face of the company within a community.
For more on Impact’s coverage of the Olympics see:
Nottingham University Students Part Of Olympic Torch Relay: Profiles
The Olympic Torch Enters Nottingham
The Olympic Torch and Chris Moyles Arrive in Nottingham
The Olympic Torch and the Chris Moyles Show to Reach Nottingham