2017 Plater Medallion winner: Taylor Rhodes

Taylor Rhodes

MPA’17, Nonprofit Management

You won the Plater Medallion as an undergraduate in 2012. What was your reaction to being nominated and ultimately getting the news that you had won the Plater Medallion for a second time as a graduate student?
I am honored and feel extremely blessed to have been nominated. I feel that even more now that I have won.

Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve done that led to this award?
I am passionate about education and youth development. That passion led me to studying abroad, through SPEA, in 2015. I went to Uganda were I completed an 11-week internship in sustainable international development. I was placed with the NGO Step Up Primary School and facilitated projects around female student empowerment and school safety. Also, for the past three years, I have dedicated my time to local organizations such as Girls Inc., Starfish Initiative and Brooke’s Place. Currently, I am the graduate assistant for Paw’s Pantry, the IUPUI food pantry. I have been with Paw’s for two years and have done my best to advocate for those who experience food insecurity.

Who or what inspired your service-oriented mindset?
My family and my faith have inspired my service-oriented mindset. It is something I was exposed to at a young age and continue to do. I also firmly believe in the Zulu proverb “Ubuntu,” which means “my humanity is tied to yours.” I can’t be great unless my community is great.

What has been your favorite part about studying at SPEA?
The people that I have met from the students to the faculty has been my favorite part. The students are exceptionally gifted and talented. The faculty are very distinguished and knowledgeable. It has been a joy learning from everyone at SPEA.

What’s next for you after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on pursuing my love of travel with a trip to Europe. When I return, I will be moving to Baltimore, Maryland, where I hope to find a job managing corporate volunteer programs.