Excited To Be Upward Bound

Incoming first-year Taylor Elgin
First-generation college student Taylor Elgin’s parents pushed their bright daughter to pursue college because they didn’t want her to struggle the way they had. But her father, Roger, a mechanic, and mother, Laurie, a brewpub manager, had no personal experience in how to make it happen.

After moving to Ashe County from Okeechobee, Florida, in 2019 with her mother and brother, Elgin discovered Upward Bound, which helps first-generation college students in low-income families prepare for life at a university. The program gives students access to college-prep instruction, counseling and mentoring, along with coaching on college applications and essays, service projects, college tours, and the opportunity to spend part of a summer living on a college campus to get a small taste of college life.

Before college, Elgin initially aspired to become a doctor, but her career plans have shifted, influenced by a close relative’s term in prison and its impact on the family. A therapist helped Elgin through the most difficult times, she said, and she’d like to do the same for others.

“Right now, I’m thinking law or psychology, like being a psychiatrist or psychologist. If I did psychology, I’d want to work with people in prison or mental institutes to try to give them a second chance,” she said.

Elgin entered Carolina as an Honors Carolina student, as well as a Carolina Covenant Scholar, which provides her with the opportunity to graduate debt-free. In the meantime, Elgin is excited for the possibilities and experiences that Carolina and the greater Chapel Hill community will be able to provide her during her college years.

“I’ve always grown up in small towns. It’s like I never got the opportunity to meet new people, to discover myself. And I feel like college gives me that opportunity,” Elgin said.

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