Photo by Stephanie Swart
By Cassandra Castillo, Assistant Features Editor—
Taylor Bradsaw went full circle in her college career at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; She began as president of the Freshman Senate and is now the 2021-2022 student government association president.
Bradshaw was initially uncertain about running in the elections. Like many candidates, she felt like she would not get enough votes or enough publicity. After realizing the numerous leadership roles she had taken on, she decided presidency was a good fit and the next step for her.
Not only has she been involved in SGA since freshman year, but also the Student Advancement Council, Chancellor’s Ambassadors and as resident assistant.
Vice President Wendy Jiang ran alongside her. Bradshaw recalled asking Jiang near the end of September what she planned to do in the spring semester and her response was running in the elections. Bradshaw said she hoped that it would not be the same position as her, and once Jiang said vice president, it clicked that they could run a good campaign.
Bradshaw and Jiang participated in Freshman Senate during the 2018-2019 academic year. A couple of years later, as Freshman Senate advisors, they were able to see each other’s work ethic and further realized they work well together.
They both agreed that Alex Spraker would be a good fit for treasurer, so the three of them created the Unite the Culture campaign, and won the election.
Bradshaw describes herself as a ‘people-person.’ She is willing to help anyone out and is inclined to do better when there are other people around.
External communications director for the Freshman Senate, Arabella Durby, said Bradshaw has made her feel loved and protected as the advisor because she is constantly letting them know she is there for them.
Bradshaw likes to shop or grab brunch with friends. Hiking and walking around Coolidge park are also a couple of her favorite hobbies.
Although she likes the Scenic City setting, Chattanooga was not what she initially planned for. She lived 25 minutes from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and was set on attending there.
“I was not going to come to UTC,” Bradshaw said. “I wasn’t even going to visit; I was so stuck on UTK. I would say ‘I’m going to UT Knoxville and I’m going to go with all of my friends, there’s no use of me visiting’ and when I came here to campus, I hated to admit it, but I fell in love with it—it felt like home to me.”
Bradshaw is currently working on a double major in Communications and Spanish, and recently declared a minor in political science.
She said she is stuck between two routes, one leading to higher education in graduate school for business, while the other leads to working in Public Relations.
The advice she gives current students and incoming freshmen are things she applies to her daily life.
“I definitely think college is a great time to find yourself,” Bradshaw said. “Don’t overwork yourself and be kind to not only others, but also kind to yourself. You’re in college, you’re in a new stage of life, so just be nice to yourself. Take self-care very seriously.”
She also advised students to get to know people, to build connections and to make the most out of their college experience.
“If you feel like you’re going to like something, give it a shot, if you don’t try something you’re never going to figure out if you like it or not,” she said. “No part of me while we were doing [freshmen] orientation wanted to do student government, and look at us now.”