Taylor Brown ’07
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
I decided to pursue a liberal arts education for the small school atmosphere and the opportunity to explore subjects outside my primary fields, biochemistry and molecular biology. I have studied history, religion and political science in much greater depth than most college students. More important, many of my classes have shown me the vital connections between disparate academic disciplines.
In many respects, the faculty and staff of Rhodes serve as a support network for students. When I was struggling academically at the beginning of my first year, I was able to rely on my professors and adviser, who were more than willing to sit down with me and discuss my problems. And in the classroom, I have really felt enriched by the discussion-oriented format in my nonscience classes. I find that I often leave a classroom asking more questions than when I came in. This is due, in part, to my own curiosity, but it also reflects the professors′ approach. They challenge us to construct our own opinions about particular matters and ask questions we might not ordinarily ask.
In the sciences, we cannot fully appreciate the lessons we learn in class until we apply them in the laboratory. Although the general lab space could benefit from remodeling and updating, almost every natural science professor has a lab and offers student research positions that go beyond simple classroom lessons. I personally have benefited greatly from doing research on cell wall metabolism with Drs. Terry Hill and Darlene Loprete.
Outside of academics, I have enjoyed my involvement in the Greek community. It is a great campus asset because of its openness and the social environment it provides. It also provides an avenue for members to step outside the gates of Rhodes and interact with the community. For a year and a half, as Inter-Fraternity Council president, I worked with another student, Nathan Hulling, to organize cleanup drives in Hollywood Springdale. We worked with all of the Greek houses, supplying them with tools and assigning them vacant lots to mow and remove any litter. This experience enabled us to put our concerns into action while providing leadership opportunities.
I have also really enjoyed living in Memphis and learning about the Mid-South′s history and culture. Last summer, as a participant in the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, I discovered that Memphis presents students with a lot of important issues that resonate throughout the country—poverty, political corruption, racial reconciliation and a living wage. As a result, I believe any students leaving Rhodes will be able to draw on their experiences when they confront these issues.
"Real world" opportunities like these make Rhodes unique. Working in the Hollywood Springdale area under Professor Kirby′s mentorship with diverse social and economic groups could not have been replicated in a classroom. It has strengthened my leadership skills and taught me that as a student or alumnus of Rhodes, I have a responsibility to use my talents and education to make the world a better place.