Civic and Political Engagement at the Root of Student’s Studies and Career Path

Taylor Easter’s interest in politics and government roots back to her childhood, but her time at Widener has allowed her to get involved and inspire others to do the same. 

Taylor pictured with the Pride lions statue on campus
Taylor Easter
Class of 2025
Political Science & Sociology
  • College of Arts & Sciences
Career Plan: local/state representative or educator

Taylor Easter’s interest in politics and government roots back to her childhood, but her time at Widener has allowed her to get involved and inspire others to do the same. 

“I’ve always really been interested in government. When I was younger my mom got me a book of all the presidents and I used to have that memorized,” Taylor said. “When I was a freshman [in high school] I took my first civics class and that was the first time I realized you could be interested in politics and engaged in ways besides voting.”

A double major in political science and sociology, Taylor now serves as the political engagement coordinator for Widener’s Center for Civic Engagement helping to spread the word on campus about being politically engaged and aware.

Empowering Others

After joining the center for civic and global engagement her freshman year at Widener, Taylor got right to work providing information about voting and political engagement to the campus community. Taylor helped to staff resource tables around campus, get the message out on social media, and visited classrooms across majors to engage her peers.

“I think the biggest thing is that politics impacts us whether or not we realize it. A lot of people our age see politics as really big and confusing, and it definitely can be,” said Taylor. “But on a local scale, we are affected by the decisions that our politicians make and I think it’s really important that we all know what that means for us and the people in our communities.”

She emphasizes the importance of staying informed, suggesting that faculty members can be a good place to start. She also recommends logging on to local state legislative websites to learn more about the politicians in a specific area. 

Broadening Horizons

Taylor often finds common themes between her two majors when working in class and brings those lessons into her engagement work. 

“Political science and sociology connect in a lot of different ways, especially when you look at the theorists, there’s a lot of overlap. Seeing those connections and then also connecting that to my daily life has been super important.” Taylor said. 

Her coursework has also broadened her horizons to topics that she didn’t think would interest her. She notes that Assistant Professor Jeremy Backstrom played a role in exposing her to international relations and how international factors can have a powerful impact. 

“When I first got to college, I wasn’t particularly excited about taking international relations courses, but after just two of his [Backstrom] classes I’m really excited to learn more and being more intentional about engaging with international news,” Taylor said. 

Support from All Angles

Having come from a small high school, Taylor was drawn to Widener by the small class sizes and chance to form relationships with faculty, staff, and classmates.  

“I really like the feeling of knowing all my classmates. I think I know everyone in the major, if not by name, then I know their face,” Taylor said. 

She credits LaShanda Patton, director of civic engagement, for serving as a mentor thus far in her civic engagement journey, saying “LaShanda has been a huge inspiration for me and working with her has been really great.”

In addition to her work with the center for civic and global engagement, Taylor is also a Presidential Service Corp/Bonner Scholar, serves as diversity and leadership coordinator for Pride activities council, a resident assistant and CREW leader, and a member of amnesty international. 

Most recently, Taylor completed research as part of the SURCA program over the summer of 2022 alongside her faculty advisor, Wes Leckrone, who serves as associate dean of social science.

“Asking me to participate in that opportunity with him was really big for me,” she said of her experience with Leckrone.

Ultimately, Taylor hopes to continue being politically and civically engaged throughout her life. 

“Right now, I’m kind of leaning between two different career paths. I either want to go into public policy and maybe be a local or state representative one day, or I want to get my PhD and teach.”

Career Plan: local/state representative or educator

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