Taylor Warburton

MS in Energy & Environment 

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

What has been your journey of becoming a scientist?

“I’m currently a master’s student in the Energy and Environment program at GRS. I started my scientific journey at Virginia Tech where I completed a B.S in Geosciences, which has a lot to do with what I’m currently studying at BU. I minored in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and took part in a number of research projects which inspired me to pursue a career in environmental consulting. After I graduated from Virginia Tech, I secured a position with Draper Aden Associates, an environmental consulting firm in Blacksburg, Virginia, for about a year until I decided to go back to school. I worked on a variety of projects involving renewable energy and environmental science, among others, and found that I wanted to pursue a more focused education in the energy side of things. I researched a number of different universities and found that the Boston University curriculum most aligned with my career goals. The program looked like a perfect fit for me, so I applied, and thankfully, I got in. Now that I’m here, I know that I’ve made the right decision. I’m very happy with everything I’ve been doing at Boston University.” 

What has been your favorite moment or experience at BU? 

“Honestly, I would say that the most impactful experience I’ve had at BU is having the opportunity to be a teaching fellow and to help guide a new generation of scientists. This experience has been really impactful on my life because I think it’s important to give back. I think about how I felt when I was an undergrad just starting my journey and it’s really great to reflect back on that.” 

What has your experience as a woman in science been like? What advice would you give to other women and girls who are interested in science and want to enter the field? 

“I was an environmental consultant for a year before I came to BU. I think as a woman in science, just initially getting the job was kind of intimidating because all of my bosses and most of my coworkers were men, which, you know, they were great people and I enjoyed working under them, but it can be a little bit intimidating as a young woman. So, I developed mentoring relationships with some of my fellow female coworkers and I think that was really good for my development and for my confidence. I was actually just talking to one of my classmates the other day because I just had my first woman professor this year and it was in a business class. I think it’s kind of interesting that I haven’t really had many women influences in science at BU. So, I can’t speak particularly to that – except, actually, for Wally Fulweiler, who I was a TF for my first semester. She’s wonderful – she’s a great resource and she was a really great mentor to me. 

As for advice to other women and girls, I would just say “go for it” and don’t limit yourself. Don’t be intimidated if your mentor is not a woman or if there’s not a significant population of women in whatever research lab you’re pursuing. I think that it’s very common for young women, and for people in general, to not take the opportunity because they lack confidence or question their abilities. Just go for it and believe you can do it, don’t let fear stand in your way.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

“I would say really thoroughly explore everything you’re interested in because that’s how you find and refine your interests. You might do a research project on something you thought you would really love to do and then you realize “oh my gosh, I hate this, and I could never do this for the rest of my life.” I think those experiences are often even more helpful than a positive experience because then you can cross something off the list and you can say ‘oh I don’t really like that but I know that now so I can move forward and refine my interests a little better.”

What is your hope for the future? 

“I would really like to see women taking on more leadership roles. As I said, it’s kind of been a pattern that I’ve observed in my professional and academic life, that women aren’t necessarily given leadership roles – and that’s certainly not because we’re lacking the ability. I think it has a lot to do with the confidence factor, so that’s definitely something I would like to see improve.”