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Meet COSAM Graduation Marshal Taylor Young
Published on: May 12, 2016

Taylor Young represented the College of Sciences and Mathematics at the spring 2016 commencement ceremony. Student marshals are selected by an awards committee from each college. To be considered, students must have completed a minimum of four semesters at Auburn University with a scholastic average of 3.40 (graduating Cum Laude) or higher and possess qualities of leadership, citizenship, character, and promise of professional ability.


Taylor Young, biomedical sciences ’16, always knew he wanted to be a doctor. His time spent volunteering at the Cancer Center of East Alabama, researching drug discovery in the lab and working with the College of Sciences and Mathematics faculty and staff solidified his decision.

“Around my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I began to decide what I wanted to do for my future career,” said Young, an Auburn native. “I’d never considered the option of medicine until I began shadowing a family friend and going to the hospital with him. I was able to shadow surgeries and procedures, and it immediately clicked for me. I loved it and continued to pursue it, opening the door for more opportunities to learn.”

After graduating from high school, Young became a volunteer at the Cancer Center of East Alabama, which he continued for three years.

“I worked in the infusion room alongside three or four nurses, and I was able to care for the patients who were receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments,” said Young. “To be able to get on a personal level with each of those patients and have heart to heart conversations about what they’re going through really gives you a different perspective on life. They’re battling cancer, but their spirits are high. It makes me want to keep my spirits high and work harder each day. My time there really directed my interests toward becoming an oncologist.”

During his sophomore year, Young began researching with Professor Rajesh Amin in the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Department of Drug Discovery and Development. Their project examines if having diabetes puts a person at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

“Working with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, we’ve developed drugs that have been tested on cell lines and mice models that have pre-developed diabetes,” said Young. “We’ve had some really amazing findings, and I hope the study will continue even after I graduate.”

His undergraduate experience does not stop there – as a part of COSAM’s Pre-Medical Preceptorship, Young had the opportunity to shadow eight different physicians in one semester from all areas of medicine.

He has received numerous awards and honors, and held many different leadership roles while at Auburn including his current role of president of COSAM Leaders, a group of COSAM juniors and seniors who serve as the official student ambassadors of the college.

“I was really involved as much as I could be during my first two years at Auburn, and as I started my junior year, I knew COSAM was where I would graduate, and I wanted to do something that would benefit the college, so I sought out the COSAM Leaders,” said Young. “I was an ambassador at my high school and really enjoyed it, so I did some research, applied and became a COSAM Leader. The experience has been amazing. I’ve had the chance to work alongside faculty and staff within the college and build relationships with many different people. Not only do I work within COSAM, but outside the college as well, giving information to perspective students and meeting alumni at different events. It has been so much fun.”

When asked what faculty member has impacted him the most while at Auburn, Young says Jack Feminella, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, has greatly influenced his life.

“Dr. Feminella had a big impact on me,” said Young. “Since this was his first year serving as advisor for the COSAM Leaders, I was able to work with him throughout last summer. He was able to show me some ropes, and I was able to show him some of the things that we do as leaders. Coming in this year as president of COSAM Leaders, my mindset was to grow our group as much as possible. As I expressed my ideas, Dr. Feminella not only agreed with me, but he’d also throw ideas back at me that were better than mine. To be able to work with him like that has really affected me.”

When told he would be representing the college at spring commencement, Young was “blown away.”

“I’m so honored to be picked for this spot, and it makes me feel like I’ve actually done some good here in COSAM during my four years.”

Young will begin medical school at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine this fall. 

Taylor Young