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Science is the Song for Professor-to-Be

Science is the Song for Professor-to-Be

This article is from the Spring 2016 edition of Otterbein Towers magazine, out now. Read more articles from the latest edition online.


Erin Miller Taylor ’10 enjoys making the sciences sing.

Taylor, who is doing post-doctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin, was interested in both science and music when she entered Otterbein University in 2006.

“I’ve always been interested in music and wanted to keep that interest through college even though it was not my discipline,” Taylor said.

Taylor majored in molecular biology, biochemistry and chemistry, while participating in choir for four years at Otterbein. She served as resident assistant and was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta.

Taylor, from Grand Haven, MI, found the decision to attend Otterbein an easy one.

“My parents both went to a small college,” Taylor said. “I visited several colleges and I really liked Otterbein. Looking back, I’m so glad I went somewhere that size. I really liked having one-on-one time with professors.”

One of those Otterbein professors, John Tansey, program director for biochemistry and molecular biology, was instrumental in setting Taylor on her current career path.

“Erin conducted her honors research project in my laboratory,” Tansey said. “She was able to present her work at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society. Having a high-quality undergraduate research experience is essential for students who wish to attend graduate school in the sciences.”

Taylor echoed Tansey’s sentiments.

“That was my first real laboratory experience, not including class time,” Taylor said. “It taught me to think independently.”

After Otterbein, Taylor went directly into a graduate program at the University of Michigan, earning her doctorate in biological chemistry last December. At UM, she decided to go into teaching.

“Otterbein definitely influenced me,” Taylor said. “I plan to pursue a tenure-faculty position at a small liberal arts college. I want to mentor undergraduates and prepare the next generation of scientists.”

Taylor, who plans to teach biochemistry or molecular biology, has applied for a post-doc teaching fellowship from the National Institute of Health.