Taylor John ’22 says Syracuse University was her dream school, and thanks to her own passion, persistence, academic performance and, importantly, an Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarship , she is living her dream and pursuing even bigger ones.
Majoring in citizenship and civic engagement and international relations in the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences —with a concentration in global health and policy and a minor in Chinese language —John hopes to pursue a graduate degree in global health and go on to medical school. “I plan to become a physician, either a pediatric surgeon or an OB-GYN. And ideally I’d like to work internationally, do Doctors Without Borders and piece together my global mindset and my passion for social justice and civic engagement all in one, with an international perspective. I want to travel to experience radically different cultures and perspectives from mine, providing health care where it’s not readily available.”
Being an OTHC Scholar, John has access to a large and growing network of Black and Latino alumni who can mentor, advise and inspire students. She loves the Coming Back Together (CBT) gatherings that celebrate achievements and a shared purpose “to connect like-minded individuals, create a safe space for people of color, students of color, alumni of color, and, most importantly, to give back so that future generations can have the same feeling of purpose in their life,” she says. John believes CBT and OTHC are “crucial for students of color because it's our place away from home. These organizations, these programs, allow students of color to flourish on campus. It creates an opportunity.”
I’ve been leaning a lot on my resources, whether it was directors or friends in leadership positions. They’ve definitely taught me to lean on my network, and the importance of networking in college and how that can help me to get to my goals, later on in life.—Taylor John ’22
John has grown up with a sense of purpose and appreciation for differences. Raised in a Caribbean American household of Guyanese, Jamaican, Chinese and Cuban ancestry, she has traveled to more than 15 countries. During high school, she studied in China, Italy and Cuba—and she speaks Mandarin. It was the travel that exposed her to inequities in health care accessibility. “In Jamaica, I saw the difficulties my family had getting access to vaccinations, medications and doctors we take for granted here,” she says. “Ironically, quality care is only afforded to those who can afford it, and most cannot afford it.”
The OTHC program nurtures leadership development in its scholarship recipients through programming and networking. John says it has taught her “patience and the importance of community and friendship. I’ve learned the importance of resources through the leadership program. I’ve been leaning a lot on my resources, whether it was directors or friends in leadership positions. They’ve definitely taught me to lean on my network, and the importance of networking in college and how that can help me to get to my goals, later on in life.”
She says the OTHC network allows her to “reach out to people who are surgeons, to people who have graduated from Maxwell, and to people who have international perspectives and are traveling all over the world, utilizing those resources and making those connections that I otherwise might not have had. Our Time Has Come also has prepped me for the real world, the competitive world, in a sense where I have to challenge myself to be great, to be better than the next person in the field that I'm engaging in.”
On campus, she demonstrates her passion for engaged leadership as chapter president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; co-chair of diversity affairs for the Student Association; campus ambassador for One Love, an organization that promotes safe and healthy relationships on college campuses; peer health advocate for Planned Parenthood; and a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and Iota Iota Iota Women’s Honor Society.
To John, Syracuse University is all about community. She had heard about the Orange community from the time she was little. Her father, Trevor M. John ’95, and 10 cousins all attended the University. John’s family contributes to the OTHC Scholarship program, as she intends to do after graduation.
“I love this school,” says John. “Syracuse has challenged me to dive deeper than what I’m used to, to get out of my box, my shelter, and to be more confident in who I am as a student, as a young woman and as an Orange woman.”