Photo Courtesy of Darnell Porter

Over the course of four years, UTSA senior Chelsea Taylor has blazed a trail of excellence. With one month left to go in her college career, it’s safe to say Taylor has left more than a mark at UTSA; she’s left a legacy. From volunteering for the homeless to running the 4×400 relay, the 21-year old track star does it all.

Last week, Taylor had the honor of being recognized with the C-USA Spirit of Service award. The award is a fine testament to her hard work and dedication in the classroom, community and everything else that goes beyond the batons and track spikes.

“I don’t do any of what I do for the recognition, but I was still very appreciative to get it,” said Taylor about her newly awarded honor. Over her four years at UTSA, Taylor has received more than her share of accolades, but the Spirit of Service award is one which really encompasses what she’s all about.

Aside from finding herself atop the podium at many track and field events, Taylor also finds herself atop the Dean’s list thanks to her academic excellence. Even as a full-time athlete and captain of the track team, she’s managed to maintain a 3.7 GPA in the classroom.

“School is just something that has always been so important to me,” said Taylor. “My parents were always very strict with me about school growing up, so when I came to college it just translated.”

Taylor is a management science major in the College of Business and has plans to pursue a MBA in the fall. “People always say do what you’re passionate about, and for me that’s business,” said Taylor.

Taylor came to UTSA with plans to pursue an education in the finance field; however she quickly realized the area wasn’t for her and she decided to follow her heart instead.

“I’m a people person and I need to interact with others, so I changed my major,” she said. The decision paid off, and Taylor couldn’t be happier. “Event management is my passion” she stated. “I love planning, coordinating schedules and logistically getting all the parts of something moving as one. It’s so exciting to me,” said Taylor. As she’s set to graduate next month, it’s clear she’s found her niche.

When Taylor is not on the track or doing homework, you can probably find her out and about the city volunteering for a variety of organizations. Taylor is very involved with her community, and makes it a point to dedicate her very limited free time toward volunteer work.

“I can’t really explain why I love volunteering so much,” said Taylor. “I just love being part of something bigger than myself.”

Taylor regularly takes part in six different volunteer organizations, yet she still jumps at any new opportunities she finds. As a result, she’s compiled hundreds of hours of community service as a UTSA student.

“My biggest passion when it comes to volunteering are young girls, kids and the homeless,” said Taylor. Just last month, Taylor took part in a project in which she and others made hundreds of lunch bags, went downtown and passed out meals to the homeless. “It was awesome. I really loved it,” said Taylor.

In addition to everything else, Chelsea Taylor is also currently crowned “Ms. Black UTSA.” Taylor uses this platform to volunteer and motivate young girls. “I talk to middle school girls mostly. I try to help them with self-confidence and self-love along with educating the community around them about the dangers of eating disorders and body shaming,” said Taylor. “Many middle school girls struggle with accepting themselves and their bodies, and it’s something I struggled with too at that age,” said Taylor. By doing this, Taylor hopes to be a light to middle school girls who are struggling.

Even though Taylor is a special person off the track, it’s important to remember how talented she is on it. Despite not starting track until sophomore year of high school, Taylor managed to find success within the sport quickly.“I was kind of forced into it just because I have long legs,” said Taylor lightheartedly. “I didn’t want to do track, but I ended up doing really well at my first meet. After that I officially joined the team.”In just three years, Taylor became good enough to earn a spot on the Roadrunner track team and become a college athlete.

After finding success and working hard her first two years, Taylor was name captain her junior year for the 2015-2016 season. “I really enjoy leadership roles,” said Taylor. “It’s just who I am as a person.” Of course, being captain has tons of responsibility, but if there’s anyone who can handle it, it’s Chelsea Taylor. “Being captain is challenging at times just because there’s so many personalities and different people. Everyone is not always going to be the best of friends” said Taylor. As her second season as captain continues, the conference track meet looms in the near future.

So how does she do it?

How can Taylor do so many things and do them all so well? “I live by the motto if there’s a will there’s a way.” Taylor said. “People always tell me I have too much on my plate, but I just love to stay busy, and I love everything that I do.” Whether it be school, volunteer work or track, Taylor gives 100 percent in everything she does. “Sometimes I wish I could calm down,” Taylor said with a laugh. “But I just can’t. I want to do everything.”

At first glance she’s just another student athlete, but there’s more than meets the eye. Taylor’s got a big brain, long legs, and a heart of gold. “I give because I want to give.” said Taylor, “I give because it’s in my heart to give.”

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