Bison Spotlight – Taylor Ward

The next Bison Spotlight shifts toward a member of the Class of 2020, Taylor Ward. She is a double major in Hospitality and Management and is receiving an Entrepreneurship Certificate. On The Hill, Taylor is a peer mentor for the NEXT Program, a TAI (Teaching Associate Intern) for a Hospitality Course, a member of the Women’s Field Hockey Team, and has worked with the Alumni Office for the Bison Landing Tournament. Outside of school, Taylor competes in beauty pageants. She is former Miss Massachusetts Collegiate 2019 and is currently USA National Miss New England 2020. She enjoys traveling to learn about new cultures, food, and ways of life. A fun fact about Taylor is she will be a student speaker at the virtual and in-person Class of 2020 Celebration.

Throughout Taylor’s time at Nichols, she completed a few different internships. In the spring of 2018, she completed an internship for Carbanonneau Bridal and Formal Wear. She planned and executed the Miss Elegance Pageant. Taylor created content to post on social media, found contestants, booked the venue, DJ, food, hair, and makeup vendors. She was also responsible for finding judges, scheduling rehearsals, and making sure that on event day, everything ran smoothly.

This led Taylor to another opportunity. In the summer of 2018, she completed an internship with the Wilmington Dance Academy. In this role, she helped run the Annual Dance Recital. She also executed summer classes, assisted teaching dance classes, and prepared for the upcoming competition season. Taylor certainly learned what it takes to run a dance studio! She experienced how to balance all three aspects of the job: administration, teaching, and managing. The biggest takeaway Taylor had during this experience was the overall importance of helping children fall in love with dance and to help impact their life for the best.

Connections Taylor has made at Nichols College have helped her secure her current experience with Turn It Up Dance Competition. Taylor’s role is Emcee, the Director of Ceremony. In this role, she hosts all the award ceremonies for a competition. It is typically a three-day event, Friday through Sunday. She also announces all the dance routines throughout the competition. She is a positive role model for young dancers. Dance competitions are located all around the United States.

A typical weekend for Taylor as an Emcee consists of 40 + hour weekends. She said, “We arrive Friday for check-in and greet everyone: dancers, teachers, studio owners, and guests. Then the competition starts Friday, typically from 5 pm – 10 pm. There are award ceremonies as well, lasting an hour each. Saturday’s are typically the longest day for me. I start at 6:30 am and end around 11:30 pm, with two to three award ceremonies that day. On the last day of the competition weekend, Sunday, I start around 6 am and end around 9 pm, with two to three award ceremonies that day. I luckily get to leave Sunday after the last award ceremony, but sometimes I stay to help where is needed as much as I can.”

Taylor’s favorite thing about her experience is, “The feeling of changing a child’s life. All dancers who compete range from ages three to eighteen. The younger girls made me feel like I was famous! They wanted to hug me, take selfies, and dance with me on stage during awards. They wanted to be just like me and that is a feeling that I will never forget.”

Taylor is still engaged with the Turn It Up Dance family. She is patiently waiting for life to get back to normal so they can continue their Regionals and transition into Nationals. She said, “I am very sad that my time has been put at a halt, but it has allowed me to grow more as an adult. Something that I take away from this opportunity is: the dancers will now compete every day as if it will be their last competition ever, even if they are not seniors. As a former dancer, I never realized the amount of work that goes into putting on dance competitions like these. This made me enhance my event planning ability not for just one client, but for hundreds.” 

These real-life experiences Taylor has completed are pushing her one step closer to reaching her dreams. She said, “My future aspirations is in ten years, to open up my own dance studio, catering toward the special needs community, giving everyone an opportunity to find a passion for dance.”

The CPDC team is very proud of Taylor and her accomplishments. We cannot wait to see where the next chapter of her life will take her!

By Maggie Noelk
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