Erica Taylor began her journey as a Rogers State University Hillcat in 2007 with intentions of studying medicine and playing basketball. Erica soon found out that life would form a different path for her, one she had never considered before.
Erica first attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., where she earned an Associate in Science while playing basketball for two years. Brought to RSU on a basketball scholarship, she wanted nothing more than to play the game and one day make a career of it.
After a year as an RSU student-athlete, things drastically changed. She was no longer able to play basketball and found herself quite unhappy; she also was questioning her choice of majors. When Erica first came to RSU, she majored in Medical/Molecular Biology, but soon found her passion was for sports journalism.
She decided to stay at RSU and finish her degree. Free from her basketball obligations, she began to take classes outside her major, including some in communications, a newly found interest. She had always been more quiet and reserved in the classroom, but jokes from teammates about her vocal ability led her in the direction of broadcasting.
Erica applied for the Washington Center Internship in 2009 and was chosen as one of three RSU students to attend. This prestigious internship is an integrated mix of work experience and academics which allows students to apply their academic lessons outside of the traditional classroom environment and interact with influential leaders, as well as other students who share their interests. During her internship in the Washington D.C. area, Erica interned for well-known companies such as Tribune Broadcasting and NBC's Today Show.
"It was during that time I discovered my purpose in life and knew communications was the perfect field for me," Erica said. "It was literally my 'ah ha' moment in life."
In addition to this internship, she later was chosen for the Sadie Adwon Memorial Scholarship from the Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. Soon after returning from the Washington Center internship, she declared herself a communications major with a focus on radio and television.
Erica said her RSU classes and internships had put her on the path to becoming a sports journalist and sports broadcaster. She gained practical experience as a sport and news summer intern for KRIV Fox 26 in Houston, a sports editor for RSU's student newspaper Hillpost and later gained an internship with Bleacher Report, a website that delivers comprehensive and entertaining content about all the teams and topics in sports, written by sports journalists and bloggers. She graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in communication, but her education didn't stop there.
Erica is currently attending Texas Tech University pursing a master's degree in mass communications, sports media. She expects to graduate in 2013. Outside of class, she is a graduate assistant for an undergraduate course in news writing, and she also serves as an assistant in the campus radio and TV departments during sport events.
"My career goal and passion is to cover collegiate and professional women's basketball as a sports broadcaster," Erica said. "I felt prepared and confident after graduating from RSU to begin a career in sports journalism, but I can already tell my experience at Tech will be very rewarding."
When reflecting back on her RSU experience, Erica credited the people who helped her pursue her dreams.
"I'd like to mention the amazing support system I've had during my studies at RSU: the athletic department, the coaching staff, the entire staff and the faculty of the communications department, my classmates and athlete friends, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries organization and my church family of New Birth in Claremore. They were all one of the greatest reasons I was able push through my four years at RSU and maximize my college experience," she said.
By: Lindsay Bolt, RSUPR Intern