Taylor Shepherd was raised in the small town of Salina, Utah, where he found joy in his youth performing on stage.
After his first semester in theater arts and much consideration, Taylor expanded his interests and made the decision to change his major. Taylor’s career exploration took him on a path through the Communication, English and Engineering Departments.
It wasn’t until he volunteered as an English teacher in China that Taylor discovered a love and passion for hospitality and international relations. When Taylor came back to the states, he switched his major to hotel, resort & hospitality management.
Taylor said his Leadership Capstone and Tourism Management classes were influential to his career success. Taught by Emmett Steed, Leadership Capstone helped him recognize his own leadership style and how to work effectively with others. Tourism Management, taught by Janice Scarinci, opened his eyes to international opportunities.
“SUU gave me opportunities to focus and learn through experience,” he said. “I traveled to China, interned with possible career employers, gained student employment in my field of study, coordinated campus events, and worked alongside mentors who wanted me to succeed. My growth was nourished from day one at Southern Utah University.”
Taylor is now working in China at Nanjing Foreign Language School, where he oversees and manages approximately 18 volunteer teachers. Never a simple task, he supervises kindergarten through 5th grade teachers, helps them improve their teaching abilities, lesson plans and classroom behavior. He also meets regularly with the Chinese foreign affairs office to discuss what's best for his teachers and their students.
“Aside from my hospitality degree and the knowledge I gained about foreign affairs, SUU also helped me become an effective liaison,” said Taylor. “I feel that I am learning so much about the Chinese culture and how they do business, which always involves hot glasses of tea.”
SUU has taught Taylor acceptance and how to work effectively alongside diverse groups of people.
“Southern Utah University definitely prepared me for the real world,” said Taylor.