A Healthcare Leader in the Making

Valuable lab and research experience is preparing Lauryn Taylor (’22) to make a difference in aerospace medicine and beyond.

Concepts learned in the Aerospace Physiology program are widely applicable to cardiology, neuroscience, anesthesiology, aviation medicine and more. (Photo: Lauryn Taylor)
Concepts learned in the Aerospace Physiology program are widely applicable to cardiology, neuroscience, anesthesiology, aviation medicine and more. (Photo: Lauryn Taylor)

Advice from a high school JROTC instructor planted the seed for senior Lauryn Taylor’s dream of becoming a flight surgeon.

Initially accepted as an Aerospace Engineering student, Taylor pivoted once she discovered Embry-Riddle’s Aerospace Physiology program – one that aligned perfectly with her interests in aviation and the different branches of health science.

“It seemed perfect for me because I had a passion for airplanes, engineering and medicine,” she said. “Also, this is the only university to offer Aerospace Physiology as an undergraduate degree.”

One of Taylor’s most notable projects as an Eagle involved leading a study on the physiological consequences of stress in flight training.

“I authored the pre-study documents and questionnaires, and the research was approved and eventually turned into a project for the entire major,” Taylor said. “Students learn how to analyze salivary cortisol and can choose to branch off and perform their own research within the realms of the Institutional Review Board.”

She also works as a training instructor in the College of Aviation’s High-Altitude Normobaric Chamber, where she helps students experience and gain a deeper understanding of hypoxia in simulated flight scenarios.

The program prepared Taylor for summer research programs in neuroscience and cardiovascular health with the University of Texas Medical Branch and Stanford University.

Her work ranged from helping to develop a device used for researching heart defects to studying the effects of HIV and cocaine on the brain – experience that makes Taylor that much more competitive as a medical school candidate.

Graduating with her B.S. in Aerospace Physiology in the spring, Taylor has enjoyed building a future that incorporates her passion for both flight and medicine.

“When I first came to summer camp at Embry-Riddle, I didn't know I’d end up going to college here,” she said. “It feels great to come full circle.”

But a bachelor’s degree is just the beginning. When it comes to her plans after graduation, Taylor has a clear vision of what lies ahead. She hopes to get her foot in the door as a biological scientist for a company like Space Tango while studying for the Medical College Admission Test.

“I plan to join the Navy Reserves after leaving medical school to pay back debts and also serve as a part-time doctor in the military,” she said.

Looking even farther ahead, she also aspires to make progress on racial disparities in health as a future senator or surgeon general.

There’s a lot left for Taylor to accomplish, but the goal throughout her journey remains the same.

“I'm just looking forward to helping people and making a difference.”