Dr. John Taylor has been studying bats since he took a general education course where he was invited to catch bats. This has led him to studying bats in caves and mines, and also being an advocate of general education courses. Dr. Taylor is able to share this knowledge with his students and help to enrich their lives with the basic understanding of biology.
Provost Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
How long have you been working at SUU?
Where did you grow up?
St. George, Utah
Where did you attend college and what did you study?
-Bachelor’s in Biology/Zoology from Southern Utah University
-Master’s in Zoology at Brigham Young University
-Doctorate in Science Education at Syracuse University
Where did you work before coming to SUU?
I’ve been employed by Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, and Syracuse University
When and how did you decide what you wanted your career to be?
I was “forced” to take a GE Biology course at SUU. The professor invited me to come catch bats with a small group of students. I obliged and was hooked.
What do you feel is the most interesting thing about your field?
I get to explore caves and mines, hike through the most beautiful scenery in the western U.S. and spend the evening catching and documenting spectacular animals.
Favorite thing to teach about your subject?
Bats have features that make engineers drool. They are tiny, can fly, and can catch insects using sonar waves. It’s as close to studying something with a superpower as one can get.
Why do you love your field?
I firmly believe that a person’s life is enriched with a basic understanding of biology. We all may not turn out to be professional biologists, we can all learn to appreciate the music of nature. Plus, studying bats is always a fantastic conversation starter.
What has been your proudest moment working at SUU?
The moment happens every spring. It is when I line up with my fellow professors along the sidewalk as our students walk between this college of caring people towards their Commencement Ceremony. It’s the “High Fives,” the handshakes and the hugs, laughing, the cheering and tears. I didn’t go into this field for the money. It was for those moments.
What is one thing you wish to tell every student in your class?
Dare to explore the unexplored. That is why we attend college. It is really the first time young adults get to push themselves without the safety net of their parents. There are a lot of bumps and bruises in the process, but you forge friendships and habits of mind that will last you a lifetime.
What do you love about SUU?
I have got to achieve some pretty awesome dreams due to the support and daringness of the faculty, staff and administration. We created a STEM Center, a STEM Partnership school with the local school district, the Jumpstart GE program, not to mention the absolutely perfect geographic position for being a biologist. I’ve had multiple opportunities to leave SUU for other jobs, but in the end, I just can’t seem to pull myself away. Everything I’ve ever wanted is right here.