Graduate from Aurora, Colorado, selected as College of Education student marshal for Auburn University’s fall 2022 commencement

Published: December 05, 2022

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Taylor Simon, a graduating senior from Aurora, Colorado, majoring in collaborative teacher special education, has been selected to lead the College of Education class of 2022 in this fall’s commencement ceremonies set for Dec. 9-10.

“It means so much to me to represent the College of Education as a student marshal,” Simon said. “To know my college has faith in me and believes in me—it’s a big honor. I’m excited to share my story and see my name next to the College of Education during commencement.”

Simon grew up around educators. Her mother was a teacher, and from an early age, she knew her career would also involve working with students. Simon’s sights turned toward special education as a high school student working with the Special Olympics.

“I’ve done so much work with students with exceptionalities,” she said. “Working with the Special Olympics, I have been able to see the academic side of this work, too, and I absolutely fell in love with it. So, this was just a natural progression for me.”

Outside of the classroom, Simon is part of the Emerge at Auburn leadership program and the local chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, or CEC.

“One of the strengths of the student marshal program is our ability to highlight outstanding students and their powerful Auburn stories,” said Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, dean of the College of Education and Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor. “Students like Taylor have a determination to make our world a better place and are already having an impact in their programs, our college and throughout Auburn’s campus.”

Simon, a Colorado native, chose the Plains for the unique Auburn experience she recognized from her first steps on campus.

“Even though I had never been to Auburn before, the university kept coming up on my college wish lists,” she said. “I was looking for a campus with a dynamic student experience and, of course, a strong special education program, but once I visited the campus, I knew Auburn is where I wanted to be.”

After graduation, Simon will merge the things she loves most about her home in Colorado, her time at Auburn and her future career by staying in the south, being near mountains and working with the age group she connects with most as a special education high school teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Some people I talk to are terrified of working with high school students,” she said. “But I love high schoolers. During my program, I’ve had three practicum field experiences and recently worked with high school students during my internship. I loved every minute of it. These are the students I want to work with for the rest of my career.”

Simon credits the College of Education and the support she received from advisors, professors and mentors during her program with ensuring she is ready for her next challenge.

“Throughout her program, Taylor has demonstrated high levels of integrity, professionalism, persistence, flexibility and self-reflection,” said Kelly Brumbeloe Schweck, Simon’s program advisor and a project director in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling. “In the classroom, she excels in planning and implementing instruction that meets individual student needs and consistently demonstrates the use of student assessment and self-reflection to improve student outcomes. Taylor is an excellent choice to represent our college as student marshal.”

The university will kick off its graduation weekend at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 9, with a commencement address from Simona Black, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and 1994 Auburn University graduate. Black’s commencement address will take place at the Neville Arena and will precede the university’s conferral ceremonies, also at the Neville Arena, on Saturday.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the university will host 10 undergraduate ceremonies along with the conferral of master’s degrees and doctorates at assigned times throughout the day, with the College of Education slated for 3:30 p.m.

Additional information, including updates regarding inclement weather, is available on the commencement website and information will be posted on the Facebook and Instagram accounts. All ceremonies will be livestreamed, with recordings available on the commencement website following the weekend festivities. Graduates and their families are encouraged to check the website regularly for updated information.

(Written by Sheryl Caldwell)

Taylor Simon

Taylor Simon, a graduating senior from Aurora, Colorado, majoring in collaborative teacher special education, has been selected to lead the College of Education's class of 2022 in this fall’s commencement ceremonies set for Dec. 9-10.