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McIntire’s Class of ’20: Taylor Cobb Finds Her Voice

Fourth-year Taylor Cobb says McIntire's integrated classroom experience, rigorous projects and presentations, and supportive faculty pushed her to proactively express her opinions and pursue her passions.

Taylor Cobb

Taylor Cobb

For someone who became vice president of Commerce Council, fourth-year Taylor Cobb (McIntire ’20) could have taken another route.

She says that she had “fickle” interests during her first semester at UVA that led her all over the map, contemplating psychology and pre-med. But unlike many students, Cobb says it wasn’t solely an interest in business that convinced her to apply to the School, but something far more personal.

“I was suffering from a severe anxiety disorder,” she recalls. “I only enrolled myself in courses where I would never have to speak, ruling out most classes I was genuinely interested in taking.”

She came to realize the tactic was self-defeating, stunting her personal growth and academic development. And ultimately, Cobb applied to McIntire because of what she identifies as the School’s ability to develop students into confident leaders.

“The integrated classroom experience, rigorous projects and presentations, and supportive faculty helped me overcome my anxiety and pushed me to proactively voice my opinions and pursue my passions,” she says.

Those passions have led the Nashville native to a future position in New York City, where she’ll become a Strategy & Operations Business Analyst for Deloitte. But in the meantime, she’s finishing out her McIntire coursework in Charlottesville, where she’s currently quarantining with her roommate and passing her non-study hours by keeping up with international news, learning basic Spanish, and reading books for fun.

What stands out to you about your courses since they’ve been taken online? Any surprises?
Since courses moved online, my professors have been incredible and constantly seek new ways to make their classes more engaging. My professor, Gary Ballinger, was able to facilitate a simulation utilizing breakout sessions during our Zoom meeting. Unknowingly, my class was taking part in a simulation that would eventually lead to Venmo payouts. I remember Zooming into class the next day with Professor Ballinger’s email and a “request me.” Some students made up to $20 depending on their performance. I know we were all really excited, and it gave us something to smile about for the week.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned at the Comm School that is helping you to navigate some aspect of your life during the stay-at-home order?
The current situation has been difficult to navigate. However, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from McIntire is how to build and leverage a small community.

The McIntire community is one of the most supportive, encouraging, and selfless groups of people I know. Staff and administration work endlessly to consistently provide students with appropriate resources, and faculty have dedicated hours to transforming their classes into an engaging online experience. Although it’s occasionally hard to remain positive during these unprecedented times, it’s encouraging to see hundreds of people work so hard so that students can still have an enjoyable college experience. Students have also come together to lift one another’s moods. Whether that’s through social media challenges, memes, or photo contests, there’s always someone trying to keep spirits high. Because of these people, I’ve received closure regarding my final college semester, and I now look for the positives in the everyday.

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