Humans of SCSU: Taylor Bird
Melissa Nuñez – Opinions and Features Editor
Taylor Bird, a senior dual communication disorders and French major said, before her start at Southern, she imagined her years in higher education somewhere far away. But she said when she arrived on campus at Accepted Students Day, the vibrant atmosphere was magnetic.
“Southern was not on my radar when I was applying to schools. I had this whole, ‘I’m going to go away and be somewhere far,’” said Bird, “then I came to Southern [on] Accepted Students Day, just the vibes I got from people, faculty, students: everybody seemed so happy and enthusiastic about being here and I was like, ‘I want to go here.’ Also, the fact that they had my program was a pretty big deal.”
Bird said she was interested in going into speech therapy, so she started as a communications disorders major. After taking a French class, she became motivated to pursue it further and minored. But following her study abroad experience in June 2015, Bird said she decided to major in it.
Bird said during her month in France she stayed at an international university that represented 140 different countries and exposed her to people of diverse backgrounds. She added she took two classes while there, taught by Luke Eilderts, a French professor.
“We did a lot of reading about sites and a lot of reading about things in France, then we would actually be able to go out and see them,” said Bird, “then do mini presentations outside of different places, like cathedrals or museums, looking at the different art. We took a lot of cool trips too, which was fun.”
Bird added she also started working on research in 2015, “Identifying AAE narrative discourse through the literary lens,” with Glenda DeJarnette, Ph.D., communication disorders professor. She said they have been studying African American English through a literary lens and has presented it at two conferences. First in April 2016 at the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH) in Virginia Beach, and then they redid the project for better results and presented it again in August 2016 at the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) in Ireland for their 30th World Congress.
“We were looking at this text to pull apart the features of African American English that were present,” said Bird. “The whole implication for it is to show that, even though there are features of African American English that are different from general or standard American English, we shouldn’t be discrediting them. We should be embracing them for a better cultural understanding of people and the way they use language. We should be embracing linguistic diversity.”
Bird added that her experience as a peer mentor also motivated her to become more involved on campus in general and is the president of the French club, an academic tutor for communication disorders, has participated in Gear Up in the summer of 2015 and 2016 and is a member of Bookmarks. She said the combination of her experiences abroad, her research, and her connections on campus has made her years at Southern a positive one; one that she hopes she has passed on to others around her.
“I think that I just had such a positive experience here at Southern, the community itself and just getting so involved.,” said Bird. “Yeah, it’s a time commitment and being able to balance all of that with your school work is a lot but it has been such a positive experience and I want to be able to share that positive experience through my leadership roles and help other people come to have a great experience here at Southern, because it is such a great school.”
Photo Courtesy: Taylor Bird