When Taylor Rowland ’21 was looking to transfer from another institution, a school with an education program was a must. She wanted a university where she could pursue her dream of being an elementary school teacher and continue her volleyball career.
NC State University provided that.
“I knew I always wanted to become an elementary school teacher and this school offers me opportunities to expand my collegiate volleyball career as well as my education career,” said Rowland, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Auburn University. “It’s close to home and I really enjoy the atmosphere on campus.”
As an elementary education major in the NC State College of Education and an outside hitter on the Wolfpack volleyball team, Rowland is able to accomplish her dreams, on and off the court.
On the court, Rowland carries a passion that started when she was just 7 years old. And it’s a love she inherited from her father, who played on the club volleyball team at the University of Maryland and competed in beach volleyball.
“What I enjoy most about playing is the connections and relationships I have with my teammates, coaches and everyone who is a part of the program,” Rowland said. “These bonds that I have made will last me a lifetime of memories.”
Off the court, Rowland is inspired by her mother, a fourth grade teacher. She says her mother works hard to give her students the best experience and ways of learning, and seeing that makes her want to be the best teacher she can be.
“I enjoy being around young children because they each bring so much into this world. If I can be a portion of their growth, then that is all the inspiration I need,” she said.
The NC State College of Education is preparing Rowland to be the best teacher that she can be by providing resources and opportunities to learn about the education field and experience being a teacher firsthand. She has participated in professional development opportunities and is spending the spring semester in a first grade classroom, shadowing and observing.
Throughout her education courses, Rowland has learned the lesson of patience. It’s a skill she has carried over to the volleyball court. The game of volleyball can take you in a lot of directions and you may not always know the outcome, so having patience and trusting the process is key when you are on the court, she says.
“In the classroom, I have seen that each day has a set of new challenges, rewards and requirements,” Rowland said. “Teachers have a lot on their plate to manage and have to make sure they reach their goals. Making sure to stay calm and patient through the process is something I have picked up on.”
After graduation, Rowland plans to go right into the classroom, teaching any grade from kindergarten to third. As a beginning teacher, she wants to find her teaching identity and be able to give her students the most effective and best experience, she says.
“I chose education because I feel like it is my calling. I want to give as many children as possible the chance to learn and grow into the best person they can be,” she said. “I want to provide them with an atmosphere of positivity and love. If I can make an impact in their lives and show them their fullest potential, then that would mean everything.”
Rowland also hopes to land a middle or high school volleyball coaching job, which will allow her to use her knowledge and experience to help others learn the game she loves.
Photography credit: NC State Athletics