Graduate Profile: Taylor Young, Ellington School of the Arts 

June 12, 2012

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It can be tough for a high school student to choose between two very different career directions, especially when the student excels in both.

Take Taylor Young for example.

The Ellington School of the Arts senior is a top notch violinist who had the honor of performing at the White House for President Barack Obama and the first lady. And in addition to an impressive list of awards and accolades, she also was introduced by Bill Cosby before playing with George Duke at the Howard Theater Gala.   

But she’s also interested in science, particularly astronomy, aerospace, computer science and engineering.

“I always had to make choices; science camp or music camp, even though they both shared an equal amount of significance in my life,” Young said.

So what do you do when the two loves of your life appear to be pulling you in different directions? Pursue both of your passions, of course. 

“I plan on being the CEO of my own electronics and computer software company,” Young said. “Then I want to found a school for minorities that specializes in the areas of STEM and fine arts. The school I will create won’t make any child who is talented in science and art split their interest.”

Next year, Young, who received two full scholarships, will begin working toward both those dreams at The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where she will major in both computer engineering and music.

Young developed both of her interests early, learning to play the piano as a baby and teaching herself to play violin at age 7. In elementary school, she was exposed to aerospace through a NASA pilot program.

“There, I participated in hands-on experiments such as building and launching bottle rockets, making robots with Legos, running simulated missions from a cockpit and visiting Wallops Island, a NASA facility,” Young said.

While her middle school didn’t offer that program, she said, “That did not diminish my excitement for science. I continued to feed my interest through television programs, websites and periodicals. Through hard work and determination, I was accepted into a NASA Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Program.”

While launching that passion, Young immersed herself in music. Over the years, she earned an impressive list of accolades that includes Best Overall Achievement for violin performance at the Washington Performing Arts Society Annual Joseph and Goldie Feder String Competition 2011; first place for string and jazz orchestra at the 2011 Heritage Festival in Nashville; and first place for string orchestra and orchestra at the 2012 Heritage Festival in Atlanta.

Rounding out her list of achievements are several other honors: Young served as concert master for Ellington’s orchestra and string ensemble as well as the DC Junior Philharmonic, and as principal violinist for Virtuosi, Ellington’s string chamber group, and the DC Youth Orchestra. And she took part in the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship program and performed in the pit orchestra for the production of “Dream Girls.”

A National Honor Society student with a 3.9 grade-point average, Young said her mother helped develop her passions and interests, which include everything from astronomy and photography to composing and filmography.

 “I have an undeniable thirst for learning,” Young said. “If I was intrigued by anything, my mother would take me to museums, or fairs and festivals so that I could learn and experience everything.”

For incoming freshman, Young advises students to be an active participant in their education when selecting courses.

“Make sure you are on an academic path involving classes that will most effectively benefit your interest, future goals, and college requirements,” she said, adding, “DCPS has a lot of partnerships with organizations within the city which provided opportunities for real world learning experiences.”

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