Taylor Vonya

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society; College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Growing up, school was a challenge for Taylor Vonya academically and socially. Diagnosed with deafness as a child, she was equipped with hearing aids at age five and underwent speech therapy until 10th grade. Other children bullied her because of her disability. Taylor tumbled her way to confidence, finding solace in gymnastics and cheerleading. She competed at the national level for 10 years. But after two surgeries to deal with knee injuries, Taylor shifted her focus to academics. She eventually was fitted with a cochlear implant, which enhanced her hearing ability and in turn improved her scholastic performance.

Having a life-long interest in human health, Taylor enrolled at FIU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology. She succeeded academically, but required a second cochlear implant.

Alongside her undergraduate studies, Taylor volunteered at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital; served as a tutor in the Peer Led Team Learning program; and is currently a research assistant at the University of Miami Stem Cell Institute. Taylor is in the process of applying to medical school and will continue to conduct research at the institute.

In honor of her grandmother who was diagnosed with leukemia, Taylor wants to become a doctor specializing in hematology or oncology and help fill the void of doctors with cochlear implants.