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Kara Taylor

College of Education student receives two master's degrees and Gwendolyn Brooks writing award

Posted: 05/31/2012
College of Education alumna Kara Taylor accomplished some pretty amazing things this spring.

Besides receiving her master’s degree in elementary education from Roosevelt University in May, Taylor also obtained a master’s in fine arts from Chicago State University and she won the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Award for her non-fiction writing.

“At times it was tough,” acknowledged Taylor, who is also an assistant director for Community Service West Upward Bound on Chicago’s west side. “I worked 40 hours a week, I attended Roosevelt University at night and then I went to Chicago State on the weekends,” she said.

Taylor won Chicago State’s Gwendolyn Brooks award for her nonfiction writing about (what else?) her experiences as a 21-year-old double-degree master’s student and the challenges she faced in achieving her goals and finishing the diplomas.

Here is an short excerpt from her winning writing:

I am awkward. No, I am no four-eyed monster with tentacles or a stereotypical outcast with a pocket protector, buckteeth, and an annoying snort, but I do have brown skin that is capable of turning white as flour if it is not hydrated.  I don’t have any glaring deformities in the eyes of white America, but as an educated black dot on a piece of plain white paper, I have bigger issues than one would think.  I am neither fat nor thin, but kind of disproportionate, with not two but four eyes.  I come with a classy retainer, split ends, and jagged nails.  Sometimes I don’t even comb my hair, but that is not the point right now. My problem lies with the amount of melanin in my skin and how I am expected to talk, or act, or think. Nonetheless, I stand a human, constructed biologically like any other around.
 
“To be compared to such a prominent writer as Gwendolyn Brooks is just awesome,” said Taylor, who also won second place in Roosevelt University’s flash fiction contest in the fall of 2010.

Next goal for Taylor is to find a full-time job teaching in an elementary school, likely in language arts.