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We Are Knox...

Melvin Taylor Jr.


Country Club Hills, Illinois

Educational Studies Major

What surprised you about Knox?
How easy it is to make a difference and how much impact you can have. I had done community service before, but being involved with the Boys & Girls Club and working at the Discovery Depot children's museum I learned I can become someone kids look up to.

Can you elaborate on any distinctive programs you have done?
A program I have participated in for the past two summers is College for Kids. It's a summer program where education majors get to teach fun classes to Galesburg youth. I've assistant taught in Make a Movie and Web Design the past two years, and it has been a blast.

Have you been involved in any research?
One independent study I have participated in is about education for minorities in Galesburg. It began as a research project in the Education Department and now is turning into a documentary in the Journalism Department. Wanting to know what education in Galesburg is like for all students and minorities and improving it is what inspired me. What I've learned is that even just speaking to people about the project is making a difference.

Melvin Taylor, right, soaks up the rain with friendsWhat's your favorite place on campus? Off campus?
My favorite place would be the Gizmo because you can start a conversation with almost anyone there. My favorite off campus site is Wal-Mart. You can never have too many items from Wal-Mart.

How would you describe campus life at Knox?
Campus life at Knox is close-knit. Everyone knows everyone, and we all get along very well. There is always someone to have fun with, do homework with, or talk to if need be. Since you take classes with first-years through seniors, you find yourself socializing and working with everyone, not just people who graduate the same year as you. (Photo left: Melvin Taylor, right, and friends soak up the rain outside the Gizmo.)

What are your interests and hobbies?
Anything involving sports, reading, watching Black Dynamite, thinking of ways to better the community, late night discussions with my friends about everything under the sun, and innovating.

What's the most important thing you've learned outside the classroom?
Simple conversations can go a long way, and as a result I've made a much bigger impact in the Knox community than I ever thought I would have.

Tell us about a memorable experience.
My memorable experiences would have to be meeting Def Jam poet Black Ice. Being able to speak to him as a person and not just a big name poet was very inspiring and motivating.

How would you describe academic life at Knox?
The academic life at Knox is rigorous if you are not committed. Coming from a private high school I was accustomed to the workload, but over time you learn that time management is much more important when you add freedom.

Is there a professor that has had a significant impact on your education?
My favorite professor would have to be John Haslem. I came into Knox wanting to do so much and really began stretching myself too thin. After taking a couple of classes with John we developed a great friendship. Having him as a mentor I can say that my boat has stayed afloat so far.

Any advice for high school students on their college search?
Don't go where all your friends are going just because you want to be with them. My friends did that, and all of them transferred to different schools. This is one of the first times you need to be selfish and do what is right for you and your future. Be yourself and don't conform to the crowd.

Why did you choose Knox? What stood out?
I learned about Knox while I was a LINK Unlimited scholar. Honestly, Knox was not my first choice school, but after talking to alumni at a college fair and another alumnus, coincidentally, at my brother's basketball practice I figured it would be a good place to explore. What stood out to me about Knox was how genuine the people were during my visit. They were all nice and welcoming and even stayed in touch with me after I left Knox to help me during my college decision.

Melvin Taylor on the Knox campusWhat clubs/organizations are you involved in on campus?
- Honor Board member
- Phi Gamma Delta/Fiji member (risk manager, house manager, and corresponding secretary for Fiji)
- Borzello fellow
- ABLE vice president
- Ed Studies Club vice president
- Reach Fellow/College for Kids
- Junior Great Books
- CTL writing tutor
- TKS sports writer

Since you came here, how have you changed? What would surprise your high school friends about you now?
I have changed a lot personally, maturation alone. Being on my own and going somewhere that a great deal of my friends never knew existed gave me motivation and reason to improve myself and be the best possible person I could be. I always knew I did not want to follow the masses, so I decided to go where nobody else in my class would in order to find myself. What would shock my friends the most about me now is how involved I am in different activities at Knox. I went from being just an athlete and a very reserved person in high school to being known as vibrant and expressive throughout Knox and the Galesburg community as a whole.