Friday Feature with Colby's Abigail Taylor-Roth

Abigail Taylor-Roth, Colby

The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Colby's Abigail Taylor-Roth, a women's swimmer who is passionate about women in STEM.

Abigail Taylor-Roth, Colby Abigail Taylor-Roth, Colby College
Senior, Women's Swimming & Diving
Juneau, Alaska/Juneau-Douglas High School
Majors: Mathematics and Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Minor: Computer Science

Why did you choose to attend Colby?
I visited Colby my senior year of high school and really enjoyed the classes I attended and the members of the team I met. I felt that Colby had a great mix of academics and athletics.

What extracurricular activities do you participate in?
I spend a lot of time organizing events for women in math and computer science in order to promote more inclusive communities in our mathematics and computer science departments on campus. We planned a "STEMinist" dinner last spring where nearly 100 students and professors came together to talk about their experiences in STEM fields at Colby. I am also a teaching assistant in the math department and a math mentor.

If you participate in any service activities, what are they and how did you get involved?
I volunteer as a muse for Hardy Girls Healthy Women, which is a non-profit organization that provides programming for girls throughout Maine. As a muse, I visit a local elementary school every week to meet with a coalition group of girls and, with my co-muse, we discuss issues relevant to the girls’ lives and eventually complete a social action project which they design. I am currently on the board for the organization which is a great opportunity to learn more about all the different aspects of HGHW’s programming. I also am a mentor for Colby Cares About Kids.

What has been your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
Last spring, I took a course on author Toni Morrison. While it was cross-listed as part of my major, it was an upper-level English course and so I was nervous about taking it. It was certainly very challenging, but I learned so much about analyzing novels and about Toni Morrison.

Who is your favorite professor? Why?
This is a hard question because I have had so many amazing professors throughout my time at Colby. One of my favorite professors is Sonja Thomas in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Department. Her courses are always difficult and include dense readings, but she does an excellent job explaining the material and helping us to become better at reading and analysis. I have learned so much for her and love that she brings current events into class discussions. I also really appreciate Nora Youngs and Evan Randles in the math department because they are always willing to help.

Have you studied abroad during your collegiate experience? If so, where and what did you study there?
I studied abroad during the fall semester of my junior year. I went on a multi-country program run through Carleton College called Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe. We spent 2-4 weeks in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Over the course of the program, we took four courses that were all related to gender studies, including an independent research project.

What has been the most interesting part of your major so far?
My favorite part of being a dual major is when the subjects start to overlap and I see connections between the two. Sometimes it is as small as terms that are relevant to both math and WGSS (generally with different meanings). I especially love learning about feminist theories about knowledge production in the sciences.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete?
Being a student-athlete has taught me the importance of personal relationships. One of the reasons that I love my teammates so much is because I feel connected to every one of them. That helps me to get through hard sets and push through races when I am feeling tired. I don’t think I could have made it through these past few years without the support of my friends in the lanes next to me every day.

Who has been the most influential person on you during your time in college so far? Why?
I have met so many amazing people and friends here that it is hard to pick just one. One friend that I met in my first-year math class has been a huge part of everything that I do at Colby. If it was not for her and some other math students I met, I probably would not have stuck with math. She constantly inspires me with her work ethic and thoughtfulness. We organize a lot of events together and there is no way that they could ever happen without her.