Graduate Testimonial: Shawn T.

Recently, we had the opportunity to catch up with Shawn Taylor, an Access Academies alum from Most Holy Trinity and De Smet Jesuit High School who is currently attending Rockhurst University.

Q: Shawn, why did you choose Rockhurst University?

A: I looked at Rockhurst initially because my older sister studied there. She was the first in my family to go to college. I ended up choosing Rockhurst because of their degree program in Information Technology. Rockhurst partnered with the University of Missouri-Kansas City to advance their Information Technology degree program and provides tutors and supplementary instructors to help us learn.  The classes are small, I am able to bond with my professors, and the campus is beautiful. Overall, I love the environment.

Q: Why did you choose Information Technology as your field of study?

A: When I was at De Smet I realized I enjoyed being around, using, and working with computers. I started looking for opportunities that would allow me to enhance my knowledge and skills, and worked summer jobs in the IT Departments at the License Collector’s Office and YMCA, and for a local family center. I also had an internship at Ranken Technical College.  When it came time to apply for college, I knew a career in Information Technology was the best fit for me personally and professionally.

Q: Tell me about your classes.

A: My favorite class so far is Digital Image and Design, which teaches us how to use MAC computers for illustration, design, and cinematography. I am also pursuing a minor in psychology. At De Smet, I took several psychology classes, including Advanced Placement Psychology, and found it fascinating how the mind works- from the developmental stages as we grow as humans to why people do what they do. I have always done well in my psychology classes because they are so interesting.

Q: Tell me about the extracurricular activities you are involved in at Rockhurst?   

A: I am a Rockhurst Ambassador, helping prospective students explore what the school offers and what values they can bring to the school; a member of the Student Activities Board, which creates fun, free activities and events for fellow students so they feel more connected to our campus community; and a member of Alpha Delta Gamma, a Catholic fraternity founded on the five Jesuit morals of Scholastic, School Spirit, Service, Spiritual, & Social.

I also volunteer as a videography intern with the Athletics Department, taping games and creating highlight reels, and work on-campus at the
Phone-a-thon, helping to raise money for student scholarships. My job is fun and interesting, and I have been asked to serve in a leadership position next semester.

Q:  Wow, you sound busy!  Did you ever think you’d be doing all this in college?

A:  I believe the more you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get involved, the more doors will open, but never thought I would have so many opportunities. Mr. Nick (aka Nick McDowell), my Access Graduate Support Director, has helped me learn to prioritize my responsibilities and manage my time.  He has been an awesome counselor and friend and I reach out to him often for advice. 

Q:  As you look back on what contributed to where you are today, how did Access play a role?

A:  Access has helped not only me but my younger sister. We both completed the Academy program at Most Holy Trinity, and benefitted from the enrichment programs, career days, and campus field trips that helped expose us to new opportunities.  Access also helped pay for our tuition – mine at De Smet and hers at St. Joseph’s Academy. We would not have been able to attend either of these schools if it were not for Access’s support. My sister is now a freshman at Rockhurst with me, and Mr. Nick continues to check on us both. He has been a huge influence on us both. Yeah, as I think about it, Access has really helped me and my family out.

Q:  What’s next for you? 

A:  I’ve got finals right around the corner, so I’ll be studying! Over Christmas break I will begin researching and applying for summer internships. Then in the spring, I will be taking 18 credit hours, completing all my core class requirements. I also have my campus job, clubs, extracurricular activities and my family (six sisters and one brother) to keep me busy!