Taylor Pryor, an English literature major and student at the Burnett Honors College, recently received the one of UCF's most prestigious honors, Order of the Pegasus. A first-generation college student and woman of color, Taylor finds joy in the fact that she was able to overcome the obstacles in her way. She hopes that other students will immerse themselves in their passions, as she did.

What does receiving the Order of Pegasus mean to you?

Achieving Order of Pegasus means a great deal to me and my family. I am a first-generation college student and a woman of color, so I am pleased that I was able to transcend those obstacles.

How did you achieve this honor?

I am a United States Air Force veteran, a Founders' Day Award recipient, president of the Sigma Tau Delta English honors society, a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honors society, the SALUTE Veterans National Honors Society, the Student Veterans Association, and the Tau Sigma national honors society. I also participated in the Honors in the Major program, which provided me with research experience. I just successfully completed my thesis defense.

I tend to exceed what is expected of me, as I was taught to do so from an early age. While in the Air Force, I was taught three core values: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Although it is a military motto, I have adopted it and used it as a model of how to approach every task. I absolutely love what I do, and I could not imagine doing anything else.

What advice do you have for others who may want to achieve the Order of Pegasus?

I've found that immersing myself in projects and organizations that I am passionate about has been most beneficial for me when it comes to being a well-rounded candidate for any award or position. Participate in clubs that spark your interest. Volunteer with organizations that are doing work that inspires you. When you love what you do, it is almost impossible for others to not take notice. I would also recommend forging relationships with your professors. Talk to them and learn from them, that is what they are there for! If your professors appreciate how dedicated you are and know your work ethic, they are more likely to nominate you for awards of this caliber.

What is your long-term goal, and how will the Order of Pegasus help you get there?

Upon graduation, I plan to attend Cornell University to earn my doctoral degree in English. My long term goal is to become a professor of English literature and an affect theorist. I believe that the Order of Pegasus is an honor that sets me apart from my peers which will, hopefully, provide me the opportunity to make a difference within higher education. The lack of professors of color in the realm of academia is staggering. I want to change that, and I know that the recognition one receives by achieving the Order of Pegasus will strengthen my message and allow my voice to be heard.

What activities do you enjoy outside of academics?

​My favorite book is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I wrote my thesis on Atwood's dystopias, and I love The Handmaid's Tale in particular because it speaks volumes to the power of language and literacy. My main hobby is gaming, and I am currently working my way through Animal Crossing and the Final Fantasy VII Remake. My hidden talent is dancing. I was a member of the company at Valencia Community College, and my favorite styles of dance are ballet and modern.