Student Spotlight: Taylor Price

Taylor Price
Taylor Price

Recent Carolina graduate Taylor Price of Cary, N.C., was an environmental studies major and geography minor. She spent the fall 2013 semester at the Institute for the Environment’s Outer Banks Field Site (OBXFS). Taylor was the 2013 recipient of the Kealy Diversity Award, established by Bill and Ellen Kealy to help increase the diversity of the student body at the OBXFS.

Why study the environment?

“When I first applied to UNC, I was leaning more toward biology and medical science. But my first semester I took Introduction to Environment & Society. That introduced me to the social science perspective, which I enjoyed, and as I learned more about myself, I realized that I really like interacting with people and that I didn’t want to work in a lab setting.”

What’s your favorite experience?

“Being at the Outer Banks Field Site and working at the Coastal Studies Institute was a great experience. We had only 10 students and our four professors, and everything — the classes, internships, capstone project — all fit together, so we got so much out of it. It was a chance to see the world in a different way.

“For my internship, I helped with the environmental education programs at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. I worked with summer camp groups, visiting school classes, field trips. We did everything from teaching introductory fishing to dissecting a baby shark. It was an opportunity to work hands-on getting kids interested and excited about science.”

“For our group capstone project, we looked at the Predator Management Program set up by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to protect endangered sea turtles and birds. On the social science side, we assessed community perceptions about the program, which is highly debated there, so it was interesting to delve into that issue, and people were really interested to hear what we learned.”

How do you feel about winning the Kealy Award?

“Winning this award helped offset the cost of tuition and other expenses for me to go to OBXFS, which was wonderful. It really allowed me to make the most of my time on the Outer Banks.”

What are your post-graduation plans?

“I really enjoy getting kids excited about learning and especially science, so I’d like to work for a few years in environmental education. This semester I’m working with the environmental education programs at the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, so between that and OBXFS I’ll have a good handle on whether that’s something I really want to pursue. Then, in a few years, I’ll probably go to graduate school.”

Story by Laura Ertel for the Institute for the Environment’s spring 2014 newsletter