Taylor is Hampden-Sydney’s seventh Goldwater Scholar and the sixth recipient in just the last nine years. The biochemistry and molecular biology, philosophy, and Spanish triple major joins a prestigious list of H-SC scholars that includes Elliott Associate Professor of Biology Kristian Hargadon ’01, Lee Ayscue ’15, James H. Lau ’17, David Bushhouse ’19, Charlie Wolfe ’20, and Tyler Howerton ’21. A testament to the strength of the research sciences at Hampden-Sydney, this honor is becoming increasingly common at the College, but the achievement is far from it.
The Goldwater Scholarship, a preeminent undergraduate research scholarship, represents the highest level of undergraduate achievement in natural sciences, math, and engineering in the United States. A living memorial honoring U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.
From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,242 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students were nominated by 433 academic institutions to compete for the 2022 Goldwater scholarships. Of those, 417 college students from across the United States received scholarships. Of the seven institutions in Virginia to post a winner this year, Hampden-Sydney College is one of only two that is not a large research institution. Taylor's award will grant him $7,000 toward next year's undergraduate tuition.
Taylor's professors at Hampden-Sydney saw early on that he held great potential—from the beginning, he was encouraged to apply for scholarships and fellowship opportunities. Taylor credits Dr. Ryan Pemberton '00, director of the Wilson Center, with laying out the opportunities available to him by putting him in touch with key players along the way. Taylor seized every opportunity that came before him.
His path to the Goldwater Scholarship began the summer after his freshman year through the Hampden-Sydney Research Fellows program, when alongside Dr. Hargadon, he studied how the expression of genes known as interferon pathway genes correlate with melanoma patient response to immunotherapy. Dr. Hargadon recognized Taylor’s potential immediately and recalls, “He is one of the most talented undergraduate students with whom I've worked in my 13-year career in higher education. He has a true passion for research that is matched only by his work ethic, a combination that I noticed early during his freshman year when I recall telling a colleague, ‘I think we have a future Goldwater Scholar on our hands!’ To see that potential play out now speaks to Taylor's ongoing commitment to his academic and professional pursuits.”