This place was the catalyst for all of it. It was people here pushing me and seeing my potential and not allowing me to not reach my potential.
In high school, Dr. Taylor Hall, ’10, never imagined herself as a college professor. Back then, she didn’t even want to be a college student. Now, she’s teaching at her alma mater, Bridgewater State University.
Hall envisioned directly entering the workforce or military, but her Norton High School guidance counselor encouraged her to at least apply to college. She picked Bridgewater State because she could afford it. As her classmates solidified their college plans, Hall figured she should go too.
That decision to attend Bridgewater changed her life.
“This place was the catalyst for all of it,” said Hall, a first-generation student who majored in sociology and minored in social welfare. “It was people here pushing me and seeing my potential and not allowing me to not reach my potential.”
Hall is back on campus as an assistant professor. She finds it surreal to be colleagues with some of the professors who were her mentors.
While initially studying elementary education and Spanish, Hall realized teaching that level was not for her. But she knew she wanted to help people. Her Bridgewater professors recommended sociology and social work and ultimately encouraged her to go to graduate school.
“I had so many influential professors who guided me in the right direction,” said Hall, who earned a PhD from Boston University.
Outside the classroom, Hall served as a social worker in Suffolk County House of Correction. Many inmates battled addiction, a condition she argues needs to be treated medically. Hall realized she wanted to advocate for policy change and support organizations that will provide inmates and others needed care.
During her doctoral studies, she found her love for teaching college and, upon learning about a part-time opening at her alma mater, knew she had to apply. She has taught at BSU since 2017 and became full-time this year.
Hall relates to the struggles BSU students face as they juggle family and work responsibilities on their way to discovering their own passions and future careers.
“We don’t necessarily have people in our communities who are role models who have gone to school and been successful,” she said. “I get the unique stressors of students who go to a state school. … I think it’s important for them to see themselves in people leading their classes.”
Hall views education as a two-way street. To that end, she sometimes has students lead discussions while she sits with the class and participates. You’d almost think she’s back here as an undergraduate herself.
“This is a learning environment,” she said. “Everyone is learning.”
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