Taylor Golding was originally interested in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for its nursing program but will be graduating this spring with a major in political science and a psychology minor.
“I was top of my class in high school, and everyone expects you to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that,” Golding says. However, when she tried to fit into that stereotype, she discovered an entirely different set of interests.
One of the main reasons Golding chose political science was through an experience in her first-year honors colloquium course. As part of the University Honors Program, Golding was able to take HNRS 129: Women of the Civil Rights Movement Travel Seminar her first semester on campus. The course explores the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the women who helped shape that movement. It includes a trip to significant locations and allows students to learn directly from civil rights activists.
“Going on that trip really changed my view,” Golding says. “It was the first time I was exposed to a lot of that information.”
Learning the disturbing history of the Civil Rights Movement on the trip sparked her desire to make a change. “I remember leaving one of those museums feeling like I was going to throw up,” Golding says. She explains how after the trip, she wanted “to help create a more equitable country.”
With these new views, Golding says she initially wanted to go into educational policy because “the best way to improve anything is to have a more educated population.”
Although educational policy is not the career path she chose, the trip still had a major impact on her current career choice. “It led me to where I am currently even though that’s no longer the career path I want to pursue, it kind of pushed me in that direction,” Golding says.
As Golding found her passion for political science, she was able to connect it with one of her other passions, traveling and experiencing different cultures.
Golding studied abroad in Winchester, England. She explains that even though “it’s very similar in many aspects to the US, there’s so many differences.”
As a political science major, she’s really interested in policy and political attitudes.
She found it fascinating “seeing the difference in their political attitudes and the policy and how the entire country’s set up compared to ours.”
The walkability and public transit abroad compared to the US really stood out to her. “We need to change so many things cause they’re so ahead of us,” Golding explains.
Reflecting on her study abroad experience, Golding says travel is “something now I really want to pursue in my career and my life going forward.”
In addition to studying abroad, Golding has been a Resident Assistant, an Honors Mentor, a member of the Blugold Marching Band for 4 years playing alto sax, as well as participated in other organizations.
Golding was able to do well academically even while participating in so many additional activities. Her academic achievements have been recognized as a member of the Honors Program.
“I really like the interdisciplinary aspect of Honors,” she says. Similarly, the part of her major she’s most interested in is political psychology, which in itself is interdisciplinary, she explains.
Another part of Honors Golding finds important is the ability to collaborate with people outside of your major.
“Being able to work with people you think differently than and have a different understanding and background than you is really important,” Golding says. “You’re able to meet other students in different areas and you’re able to network with different professors that you never would’ve met before.”
A bright future
As Golding plans the next part of her life, she explains, “I originally started everything being very career driven, and since studying abroad and reflecting back on my life in general, I’ve decided that that’s not necessarily the most top priority for me anymore.” She highlights that although her career is still very important to her, she says, “I’m kind of taking it as it comes.”
Immediately after graduation, Golding says she’s exploring the possibility of a working holiday visa in Ireland or New Zealand and is interested in seasonal work.
“I’m planning to go back to grad school to study public opinion in a couple of years after I have some more experience and some more cultural awareness from traveling,” Golding says.
She’s hoping to continue her travels and go to grad school in Europe. For now though, she plans to gain experience through travel, and take things one step at a time.