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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Baker ’14 finds passion in poetry and education

Published: February 28, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

In college, we are often encouraged to find a way to mold our hobbies and interests into our professions, as passion often translates into enthusiasm and success. We are told to concoct a major or dream job by marrying separate ideas and goals into one ultimate goal. However, this is not always the most effective way of excelling in multiple interests or making a difference. Taylor Baker ’14 plans to separate her dream job from her passion (and major) in order to do so.

Baker, a Creative Writing and English double major, has written poetry most of her life. “It’s something I have to do. It feels like a natural form of expression, a natural way to figure out events or feelings,” she said.

Currently, she is working on a poetry thesis (a work in progress for the past few years), which is essentially a collection of her poetry with no particular unifying theme or overarching message. She bases her poetry on aspects of her life such relationships and family, sometimes reflecting on specific events. She writes in free verse, so she is not confined to one rhyme scheme or rhythm.

Baker has always loved English and was inspired to study it in college by her high school English teacher, who taught her how to truly understand literature. She finds writing cathartic, which leads to a greater comprehension of oneself. One might expect that she would pursue her love of poetry to a career, but she is choosing to follow her second passion—education.

Originally an elementary education major, Baker realized that classroom teaching was not for her. Still very much interested in education, Baker realized that museum education would be a brilliant intersection of what she loves: education, art and culture. After graduation, Baker hopes to intern at a museum somewhere in her hometown of New York City, preferably at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the local Queens museum of her neighborhood. The last option would not only involve the history of her home, but also the art. One of her difficulties in her search for internships is the prerequisite of a few years of museum experience or a master’s degree, which she plans to earn in the future.

Baker explained her deep-rooted passion for education. “I didn’t attend great schools, and I experienced first hand a lot of problems that exist in the education system. I think if you focus on fixing education it can be one of the most beneficial things for people. Classroom teaching wasn’t really for me, but by working in a museum I could educate both adults and kids.”

Baker thinks that museums function as huge centers of learning that are informative, interactive and stimulating. One major issue in education that she hopes to address is how learning is made into something done exclusively in school. “Things like art can seem recreational and superficial, but because museums are outside of school, I would have the opportunity to emphasize learning as something that is fun life-long in any aspect.”

Baker clearly wants to make an impact on the world, similarly to the way she has done in her four years at Brandeis. Baker is a co-editor-in-chief of “Where the Children Play,” Brandeis’ arts and literary magazine, is an undergraduate department representative for the English department, is a tutor for ELL (English Language Learners, which helps Brandeis employees learn and improve their English) and hosts an indie music radio show for WBRS.

One of Baker’s most memorable experiences at Brandeis is the first poetry workshop she took with Professor Melanie Braverman (ENG), who taught her to have confidence in her poetry. Taylor will miss the unique college experience that Brandeis gives to its students. She will miss the intellectualism of Brandeis and how she learned to speak intelligently and critically here.

Baker hopes to publish her poetry eventually and submit her work to poetry reviews.