#ElonGrad 2020 Spotlight: Taylor McFadden, Statistics

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2020 from a wide array of disciplines.

Taylor McFadden

A statistics major, McFadden received the Academic Achievement and Outstanding Experiential Learning awards from the Mathematics and Statistics Department for the Class of 2020.

McFadden displayed “maturity, drive, curiosity, independence and diligence” during her time at Elon, proving herself a “born leader, born helper and a born star,” said her mentor, Associate Professor of Statistics and Education Ayesha Delpish.

What drew you to Statistics as a major?

Statistics has so many different applications and it is used in a wide variety of fields. I found an appreciation for working through the steps of statistical problems and relating them to real-life scenarios.

What was your research topic and how did you choose that topic?

I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) called Summer Program Advancing Techniques in the Applied Learning of Statistics (SPATIAL-Stats). In this program, I worked with four other undergraduate students to research factors associated with U.S suicide rates. We used regression analysis techniques to investigate different variables associated with U.S suicide rates. This topic was suggested to my peers and me by psychologists who were interested in this data. I presented this research at the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences.

What is your proudest accomplishment while at Elon?

My proudest accomplishment was receiving all As during my freshman year. I had set this academic goal for myself and I accomplished it. For me, this achievement encouraged me to keep challenging myself and it set the tone for the rest of my academic career at Elon.

How has your relationship with your mentor furthered your educational goals or helped you grow?

Dr. Delpish has been instrumental along my journey at Elon. She has pushed me to excel academically and to pursue enriching opportunities. Throughout my time at Elon, she has always pointed me in the right direction towards the appropriate resources that I needed in order to reach my goals. My mentor has provided me with constructive feedback with a healthy dose of encouragement so that I can reach my potential.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I plan to obtain a graduate degree in analytics. Prior to going to graduate school, I plan on gaining more analytical experience in a professional setting. With my education and experience, I plan on using my statistical skills to make informed decisions that help bring about positive change in the world.

What advice would you give future Elon students?

Try not to compare your journey to someone else’s. Take the time to discover your own passions and pursue them.

What’s your favorite Elon tradition?

I think the acorn/sapling tradition is very symbolic of one’s journey at Elon. Since freshman year, I have grown so much and I have learned a lot about myself. I still have my acorn as a reminder of where I started at Elon and where I want to go in life.