Rising Stars Spotlight: Taylor Wilson
Taylor Wilson is a fourth-year kinesiology major and softball student-athlete at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, pursuing a career in sports. In her current role, Taylor serves as a Marketing and Fan Experience summer intern for the Baysox Minor League Baseball club. At UMD, Taylor has served in several leadership roles including Team Captain, Team Impact Fellow, and a Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition student-athlete representative. Taylor’s mission is to use sport as a vehicle for connecting communities, enhancing public health, and bringing joy by engaging others in thought-provoking dialogue about the relationship between sport and society, and the need for equitable and inclusive practices in sports to create a more cohesive global community.
Why did you join Women Leaders and how has the organization been most beneficial for you?
I joined Women Leaders to learn and connect with women making a difference in college sports. I love looking around the organization and seeing women at various stages of their careers pushing for positive change at their institutions and advocating for the advancement of women in the world of sports. As a current student-athlete, it is exciting to know there is a community of experienced and empowering women to help me hit the ground running after I graduate! I have most benefited from the Women Leaders Podcast. I LOVE podcasts and am always inspired by the guest’s insight and advice!
What was your deciding factor in choosing to attend the University of Maryland (UMD) as a softball student-athlete?
Growing up in Maryland, choosing to attend the University of Maryland as a softball student-athlete was a no-brainer. I am so blessed to be able to represent my state every day on the field and in the community. The opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the country has been amazing, and having my family in the stands for home games is something I never take for granted.
How do you want to be remembered as a leader in college sports?
I want to be remembered as a leader who champions equity and inclusivity, and treats everyone like it’s their birthday! It is my mission to use sport as a vehicle for connecting communities, enhancing public health, and bringing joy. I want to help student-athletes identify their passions, use their platforms to catalyze change, and have fun doing it.
Having served as a Gossett Fellow, Maryland Made intern, and SAAC Executive Board member, what is one accomplishment you are most proud of as a leader for the UMD athletic department?
I am most proud of assisting Resa Lovelace with the formation of Terps Together. As just a sophomore at the time, I was definitely intimidated by the idea of developing a department-wide initiative for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thankfully, Resa saw my vision and helped me articulate my ideas to senior staff members. I love where Terps Together is headed and I am so excited the next generation of Terps is just as passionate about creating an inclusive environment within Maryland athletics and celebrating all that makes us unique.
What do you hope to gain out of your experience as an intern for the Bowie Baysox Minor League Baseball club this summer?
I hope to gain insight into the world of Minor League Baseball operations. Unlike Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball teams have fewer full-time employees requiring staff members to wear many hats which is something I never considered before this experience. I really like the idea of no two days being the same and having to know a little bit about everything in the ballpark. Going into this internship I expected to be doing a lot of gameday work with the marketing staff, but our adapted experience is super interesting as we are currently seeking fun and creative ways to engage the community in the absence of baseball.
Your favorite UMD…
Tradition: The best victory song in the country
Meal on-campus: Playa Bowls
Course: Sport and American Society
If you could only use three words to describe your personal brand, what would they be?
We often hear the term, ‘More Than An Athlete’ and you are a prime example of what that means. What motivates you to use your platform to shed light on racial injustices and be a voice for the Black community?
I am motivated by my dad. He always stands up for what he believes in and taught me to do the same. Additionally, I am motivated by the lack of representation in softball. In 2019, only 8% of Division I softball players were Black. I believe it is my responsibility to advocate for social change in and beyond a community where people who look like me are severely underrepresented. Because so many young athletes follow me, I want to present information that sparks discussion and challenges ideas. I believe it is important to have a holistic sense of self which includes fighting for more than that which affects me as an athlete.
With so many unknowns for the upcoming academic year, what brings you peace of mind and hope as you enter your final year at UMD?
Being able to have made a difference in the athletic community is something that brings me peace. I can move forward in my journey knowing that I am leaving Maryland athletics better than I found it!
What is one piece of advice you wish to share with fellow Rising Stars?
Run your race! Comparison is the thief of joy and the delayer of progress. Focus on what you can control as your journey is uniquely yours. What is for you will never miss you with faith and hard work!