This is the best opportunity and age to not only learn new things, but also mature, discover many new ways to serve and help others, and make friendships that will last a lifetime.
Taylor Fields has always had an eye for fashion. “My mother tells stories of me at age three that I could accessorize my outfit with matching socks, shoes, handbag, and sunglasses,” she said. Fields followed her style senses to Texas Tech, where she majored in retail management as an undergraduate and will begin her graduate studies in the fall. While earning her bachelor’s degree, Fields interned with a Houston-based fashion designer and studied abroad in Paris, London, Madrid, and Barcelona. Her research for a class project also led Fields to form a business that provides game-day apparel for Texas Tech fans. Capping off her accomplishments, Fields served as president of Tech Retail Association, a professional organization for students interested in retail management.
Learn more about Student of Integrated Scholarship Taylor Fields in this question-and-answer session.
What got you interested in your major?
I majored in retail management and minored in RHIM (restaurant, hotel, and institutional management). I graduated on December 17, and my plans are to begin graduate school in June. I have always loved fashion, especially accessories, and I knew at a young age I wanted to make that part of my life. I am interested in becoming a buyer at the corporate level to gain experience, so later I can own my own boutique. My mother tells stories of me when I was young; at age three, I could accessorize my outfit with matching socks, shoes, handbag, and sunglasses. That same year, my aunt gave me a pair of red sequin pumps to play with; they were from the disco era and very sparkly. From that moment on, I was hooked on shoes.
What is the most challenging course you've taken? How has it affected you?
The most challenging course for me was Cost Control. I have never been a strong math student, and this class by far took lots of studying and tutoring in order to complete. Math has never come easy for me, but I can honestly say I learned perseverance through this class, because I'm not one to give up when things get rough.
Have you completed internships or had other work experience applicable to your field of study?
Yes, I completed an internship last summer. I worked for a Houston bridal gown and swimsuit designer. I learned so much through that experience and have been so thankful for the opportunity. Since she is a young designer and fairly new to the industry, I learned as much about "what not to do" as learning "what to do"; sometimes those lessons are better to learn so that you do not repeat someone else's mistakes. Also, I was able to learn many aspects of the business and not just concentrate on one area.
What other work experience have you had that is applicable to your field of study?
I have worked in the retail field at various places in Lubbock and Abilene for about three years. I have done everything from selling ice cream and gourmet cookies, to being a receptionist at SportClips, to selling pottery and ceramics. I was even a Mary Kay beauty consultant for a few years. I love all aspects of serving and working with people, and meeting their needs.
Have you participated in undergraduate research?
Yes, last semester I took a research class. My mentor is Dr. Deborah Fowler. I actually did my research with a partner, Candiss Patton; we worked together during our summer internship. After that experience, we decided to start our own business because we made some awesome connections through working with the Houston designer. Our research was titled College Game Day Attire: An Observation of Texas Tech Females.
What service projects (volunteering, community service, etc.) have you been involved in?
One of my favorite places to volunteer has been at FBC (First Baptist Church of Lubbock) AWANA (an international Bible-oriented children's and youth ministry), where I was a Cubbies (three- and four-year-old children) leader. Each week for two hours, I had the opportunity to lead a group of three- and four-year-olds. The goal is to teach the children scripture and Bible stories in a fun and creative way. I learned more from the kids than they did from me!
Being a part of Kappa Alpha Theta, I have participated in our Casa 5K each year in the spring. My duties have consisted of finding sponsors and donations from the Lubbock community, preparing decorations and setups the morning of the race, being in charge of one of the water stops, cleanup crew, and working the registration table. Through Theta, I have also participated in National Adoption Day, Relay for Life, Mentor Mentee program, Greek Treat, and March of Dimes. Through Tech Retail Association, I have participated in Race for the Cure, Toys for Tots, and helped at the Lubbock Ballet. All combined for approximately 120 hours of community service.
I also served as vice president and president of Tech Retail Association, was a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda (National Leadership and Honors Organization), and a member of Phi U Honors Society.
What advice would you give to other students who would like to be a Student of Integrated Scholarship? Students of Integrated Scholarship balance academics with additional activities, such as research, internships, service learning, and study abroad.
My one piece of advice would be stay involved, but remember this is college, and you only get this time once. This is the best opportunity and age to not only learn new things, but also mature, discover many new ways to serve and help others, and make friendships that will last a lifetime. Studying is a priority, but try to schedule your week so you have time to experience a little bit of each.
What are your plans after graduation?
My plans for now are to pursue graduate school at Texas Tech. I would like to work in corporate for a retailer and then eventually own my own business. I am looking forward to more travel abroad and experiencing other cultures.
What experiences do you value most as a student at Texas Tech?
I have loved every minute at Texas Tech. I have had so many amazing opportunities. I would say my two most valued experiences at Tech would be pledging Kappa Alpha Theta and being involved in the retail management program.
Theta has instilled in me values I will carry for the rest of my life as well as long lasting friendships. I know wherever I end up there will always be at least one Theta close by. The retail program has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I had the opportunity to serve as president of Tech Retail Association my last semester and attend a trip to Europe last summer with a group from our program. This would not have been possible without Dr. Fowler. I cannot forget to thank Dr. Fowler for all she has done; she has been such a blessing to me over the years. She is a true model of what a professor should be and gives up a majority of her time for her students. She has always made herself available to help challenge and guide me in the right direction. The retail management program would not be the same without her.
I have not only learned course material, but also leadership skills and perseverance through many obstacles during these last four years. The opportunities here at Texas Tech have helped shape me into the educated, self-determined young woman I am today.