Taylor Esposito '21
Summa Cum Laude
Political Science and Philosophy double major
Professional Writing, and United States History
Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Mastic Beach, New York, and I went to William Floyd High School.
How did you hear about Stony Brook University?
I heard about Stony Brook University when I was back in high school and I was first researching which colleges that I wanted to attend. I knew that I wanted to go to a school that was somewhat close to home and had an amazing Political Science program.
Why Stony Brook?
I wanted to study at Stony Brook University because I knew that I wanted to double major in Political Science and Philosophy and SBU is one of the few schools that would allow me to double major and still graduate within four years. I was also attracted to the large size and diversity of the student population. SBU has so many different opportunities including research, internships, clubs, and other activities, and this was a strong benefit of attending.
On her major/minors:
I decided to double major in Political Science and Philosophy and double minor in Professional Writing and United States History. I chose to major in Political Science and Philosophy because they were subjects that I was very interested in when I was in high school. I chose to take on Professional Writing thanks to one of my amazing professors, Professor Robert Kaplan. I used to struggle with writing and I knew that it was something that I wanted to improve, so I knew that the Professional Writing minor would challenge me and make me into a better writer. I added a minor in United States History because I have always loved history and I wanted to learn more about American social history.
One of my favorite classes was my Leadership and Service (LDS) 275 course. I was selected to be a Leadership and Service Fellow for the Undergraduate College of Leadership and Service and the course served to help prepare me to be a Teaching Assistant for Leadership and Service (LDS) 101. My instructor, Candace Chabza, challenged me as a leader and helped me develop my public speaking skills and confidence. I fell in love with the course and I became the Teaching Assistant for LDS 275 the following year in which I helped the next cohort of LDS Fellows develop their own leadership skills.
Interests and accomplishments:
One of my interests is legal advocacy work and in order to explore this passion, I served as an Undergraduate Development Intern for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights , an Undergraduate Legal Intern for the Stony Brook University Office of General Counsel, and a JFEW SUNY Program Scholar. Additionally, as a URECA Summer Program Researcher, I did research in education policy specifically targeted towards de facto segregation in New York City public schools. I used my research from URECA to pursue a Political Science Honors Thesis.
One of my other interests is student life and student advocacy. Through my roles as a Student Assistant in the Dean of Students Office, an SBU Orientation Leader, a Resident Assistant for Langmuir College, an SBU Diversity Peer Educator, a Leadership and Service Forever Fellow, and a Teaching Assistant for LDS 275, I was able to help students navigate University resources and aid them in their success.
My greatest achievement was the small ways that I have helped students in my four years at SBU. Through my various roles on campus, I find ways to advocate for students and to help then overcome obstacles. I am also proud of the programs I have done that contributed to campus life by providing students pathways to engagement, academic success, and wellness.
Awards and Accolades:
I have worked very hard to maintain my 4.0 GPA and my spot on the Dean’s List and have been awarded with multiple Academic Achievement Awards, and a Degree with Distinction of Summa Cum Laude. I have also been awarded membership in SBU’s Honors College, Sigma Beta Honors Society, and Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honors Society. This year, I was also excited to win the Culture Champion Award at the 2021 SBU Career Center Student Employee Awards Ceremony and the Upstander Award at the SBU Center of Prevention and Outreach 2021 Upstander Gala. I was also honored to be inducted into the Resident Assistant Hall of Fame at this year’s 2021 SBU RA Soirée Awards. Lastly, I’m extremely proud as the first SBU student to be awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Award to Estonia.
Plans for post-graduation?
I was selected as one of two people in the country to be awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Award to Estonia. I will spend nine months in Estonia teaching English to Estonian students as I work on my community project for women’s career development.
I aspire to go to law school and become a lawyer. Through my Fulbright English Teaching Award to Estonia, I plan on learning more about the public education system of Estonia and how Estonia enables resources such as online books and Wi-Fi to be publicly available for its citizens. During my time in Estonia, I plan to learn more about education policy and bring that into my future career in law.
Clubs and organizations:
I am currently a student member of the SBU President’s Council of Student Advisors, the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Student Advisory Council, SBU’s Women’s Leadership Council, and the SBU Academic Judiciary Committee. In these roles, I advocate for students and the SBU community. Additionally, I advocate for Resident Assistants across campus since I was elected as a representative for SBU’s Resident Assistant Council. I explore my passion for women’s rights as President of SBU’s Chapter of I AM THAT GIRL. I am also an Admissions Recruitment Volunteer through which I help prospective students learn more about SBU.
Advice for future Seawolves?
My favorite quote of all time comes from Walt Disney, “ Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths .” My piece of advice to potential Seawolves is to keep moving forward even when you make mistakes. You are going to make mistakes and that is something to cherish because it means that you will always have something to learn from. If you spend too much time lamenting over your past mistakes, you are going to miss the beautiful opportunities ahead of you.
Favorite SBU memory?
I think that my favorite memories of SBU are of Langmuir College. I have served as a Resident Assistant in Langmuir College and lived there back when I was only a first year student. I am so grateful to all of the friends that I have made in Langmuir and to all of the staff members who have always been there to support me. I have certainly lived, laughed, and loved back in Langmuir College and I will cherish every single memory.
I have recently changed my perspective on graduating in the middle of a pandemic. This year has been extremely challenging to every single person in the world and we need to be proud of the strength that we held throughout this year. I am so privileged to be able to graduate from college and I am even more privileged to be healthy and safe as so many in our world cannot say the same. I am proud to be graduating during a pandemic because it has allowed me to realize how strong I am and how grateful I am to be able to graduate despite the state of our world.