A Magnolia Scholar Story: Taylor Seiple

by on June 27, 2017

At first, Taylor Seiple assumed the Magnolia Scholarship was simply a tremendous means to a life-changing end: a Wake Forest education. And then she discovered it meant even more: an achievement, a distinction and a community unto itself.

“It absolutely makes my identity here,” she said.

The process starts when Magnolia Scholars arrive for their own orientation to their new home. They meet with the mentors who will help guide their four years with outreach programs that address their specific needs as first-generation college students, and the experience forges tight bonds between members of each incoming class.

Seiple, raised by a single mother in Concord, NC, felt that tie immediately. It was so meaningful that, the following year, she became a peer advisor to a small group of Magnolia Scholars in the Class of 2019. Her message to her five advisees was simple: “You are here for a reason, and you belong.”

When Seiple sees fellow Magnolia Scholars on campus, she stops to chat or – if time is short – at least reciprocates a nod or other recognition.

Her supportive engagement stems in part from the example of her mom, who works in a nursing home, and from her own work in retail. She has had the same job in the massive Concord Mills mall since her junior year in high school.

“It’s interesting in itself because you get reactions from people and you have to answer questions – even as a part-time worker,” Seiple said. “People interact with you as if you’re the manager.”

All this thinking on her feet and interaction with customers has, in turn, helped her identify professional goals. A Sociology major with a concentration in business issues, Seiple intends to become a human-relations executive. To get there, she will attend a summer business management program and perhaps work an internship in the Silicon Valley.

After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans on earning a Master of Arts in Management degree, another program in which Wake Forest is a national leader.

“I love working with people, and I think that will help me get where I need to be,” she said.

But she won’t forget her family within the larger Wake Forest family, a group of committed students with common experiences and extraordinary support from benefactors.

“The Magnolia Scholars bond is really important,” Seiple said. “There’s so much power in it. We all have a mutual understanding of what we’re a part of.”

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