By Sydney Hauer
A chance encounter in the dining center led CheLynn Taylor to change the course of her entire future.
Taylor decided to declare public relations (PR) as her major after speaking with an upperclassman during dinner one night. She was an undecided major when she came to UNI but found PR to be the perfect mix between communication studies and business. She said she has been pleased with her decision ever since.
“I’ve really loved it,” Taylor said. “I’ve loved every single professor I’ve had so far. I’ve taken public relations courses, I’ve taken writing classes so far, I’ve taken speech classes, research classes and I’ve loved each and every one of them so far. They’ve taught me a lot.”
Taylor said that after moving to Cedar Falls from Cedar Rapids, she felt that UNI was a great fit for her that was still close enough to home. She loves the tight-knit community aspect that UNI offers.
“Wherever I go on campus, whether it’s [the library] or Maucker, or any of those other hubs, I always see people that I know and recognize people in my classes,” Taylor said. “That’s what I really love, is that you just come and see all of these people that you know from your classes and everyone is super nice. And you’re encouraged to do well here and there are so many great resources. It’s just a close-to-home feel here.”
Taylor is involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She is also one of the first participants in a new program called “Panther Learning Partners.”
“It’s an experiment that the University is doing, and basically, it’s a student-faculty partnership,” Taylor explained. “I will work with faculty to kind of assess the learning environment in classrooms. It’s a class that I’m taking and it’s not necessarily extracurricular but it’s something that I am involved in.”
The program will send Taylor into classes in all different departments around campus, which she will help assess in order to improve the quality of education at UNI. She is most excited for the opportunity to better the learning community and experience courses she wouldn’t otherwise.
“It’s a big step for me,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like that, so I think once that’s finished it will be a big accomplishment for me and I will be able to help a lot of people on campus.”
Taylor is an employee in public relations in the International Students and Scholars office in the Maucker Union.
“I worked there last semester and I’m working there again this semester, and basically my role is kind of do social media, and I will do some writing pieces for our director,” Taylor said. “And then every Thursday, we have an International Coffee Hour from 3 to 4 p.m., and right now I am in charge of coordinating it, picking out themes, getting the word out there and of course, working on other content writing.”
Despite all that Taylor is involved in, she definitely finds time to allow herself to relax.
“It’s kind of embarrassing, but I just love being in bed and watching movies,” Taylor said. “That is just all I do. I’m in bed, I’m watching YouTube videos, I’m watching Netflix, and that is what I love to do. I love relaxing and just hanging out. Sometimes that means sleeping in ‘til noon.”
As a self-described night-owl, sleeping in is often in order.
Another hobby of Taylor’s is playing the piano, which she has done since eighth grade. Her love of music has influenced her in the type of career she is looking for.
Post-graduation, Taylor hopes to move out to San Diego where her aunt lives and find a job in the field.
“I want to do strategic communications and more business PR, but in the entertainment sector, with music essentially. Secure a job in that field, get something like that going. That’s where I’m at right now.”
Taylor encourages anyone who is unsure about what they want to do to check out public relations because of its applicability to the real world.
[It’s] a great major for anyone who kind of wants to dip in the business world but isn’t really sure, but still likes the communication aspect of business,” Taylor said. “There is a lot of valuable stuff you can take from this major, and I encourage anyone who is deciding on what they want, whether they’re in the communications department or they want to do something business related, public relations is a really good field to test out.”