Health and exercise science student stands on her own and supports herself to get to graduation

Shelby Taylor sitting by the river smiling in profile picture.

Outstanding health and exercise grad Shelby Taylor learned how to be strong and independent in college. Taylor, who grew up in Larkspur, Colorado, chose Colorado State University partly because her dad’s job with CSU offered a tuition discount. She says the Department of Health and Exercise Science and their high quality program was another draw.

Financially supporting herself

Taylor supported herself financially throughout college by working two jobs on top of school. A three sport athlete in high school, she has coached youth volleyball, waited tables, and worked as a nanny, paying for all of her expenses herself including tuition, rent, doctors’ visits, and more.

“I am extremely independent,” Taylor said. “I never took the breaks off. I took at least two classes each summer plus worked my jobs.”

Cancer scare

Shelby Taylor sitting on a bridge smiling for profile picture.
Shelby Taylor

In addition to her financial challenges, Taylor had a cancer scare while she was at CSU. During her freshman year, she was diagnosed with skin cancer near her eye at the age of 18. Luckily, the cancer was caught early enough to be removed.

“It was scary to think I’d needed surgery, and it was on my face right by my eye so now every year I get my skin and eyes checked for cancer,” Taylor said.

CSU activities

At CSU, Taylor volunteered in the My Heroes program working with special needs children and assisted with the Special Olympics. She serves as an officer in the department’s Wellness Club and she also volunteered in various HES research labs as a test subject. In her last two semesters of college, Taylor served as a teaching assistant in Kinesiology for her capstone class.

“The position really showed me how much I truly like to educate people,” Taylor said. “It’s something I believe in and I was happy to be able to help them,” Taylor said.

“After graduation, I will miss my professors the most,” Taylor said. “Over the last semester, I basically lived in the HES department and I became close with professors I never even had in class. Moby B Wing feels like my second home at this point.”

“Most of the professors in the HES department are amazing people and all have impacted me,” Taylor said. But she especially credits faculty members Kathy Hutcheson, Brian Butki, and Ryan Donovan for their impact on her education and life. She also credits the outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistants in the department for helping her through many of her classes.

Future plans

After all of her hard work, Taylor is looking forward to some travel and recreation. After graduation, she is planning to travel to Europe, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. She is also planning to go snowboarding, a lot! As far as what’s next, she has applied to the Master’s in Public Health program at CSU for the fall of 2020.

“At this point I am graduating early, and I am excited to take advantage of this well-deserved break,” she said.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

Read about more of the outstanding graduates in the College of Health and Human Sciences.