Meet a Roadrunner: Gail Taylor is key in helping undergrads go on to earn doctorates

Gail Taylor

Gail Taylor

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(June 18, 2014) -- Meet Gail Taylor. The associate director of STEM initiatives in the Center for Research and Training in the Sciences has worked at UTSA since 1996. Her primary focus has been to help students gain research experience in training programs and to encourage them to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences, psychology and biomedical engineering fields.

Taylor manages or directs the government-funded Minority Basic Research Support (MBRS) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), the Minority Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) program and the financial-aid funded Work Study Research Training program. All three provide financial support to work in a laboratory, mentoring and other training that enables students to develop as scientists.

Over the last three decades, 71 MBRS-RISE and 57 MARC-U*STAR participants have either earned their doctoral degrees or are currently enrolled in doctoral programs.

"I believe one of my main purposes in life is to help people get to where they need to go," said Taylor. "I often meet students I think would make fantastic scientists, but they have no idea how to pursue a research career or concept of the talent they possess or potential they have to earn a Ph.D. I help them open the door to those dreams."

Taylor says her drive remains strong to assist students to try out their skills in a research lab, particularly those from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Her door is open to any student who wants to learn how to enter a research lab or pursue graduate education in the sciences.

She also teaches Research Careers and Professional Skills Development, an upper division biology elective that counts toward an Honors College elective credit.

Taylor received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed engineering coursework at Cal State Northridge. Her master's degree in biomedical engineering and doctoral degree in neuroscience are from Tulane University in New Orleans.

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