By Lauren Mar
When Emily Taylor ’06 began her journey on the Claremont-Mudd Scripps (CMS) volleyball team in 2002, she had no idea she would be inducted into the 2024 class of the CMS Ducey Hall of Fame 22 years later. During her first year at Scripps, Taylor led the Athenas to a 21-7 record in her first season in 2002—a 12-win improvement from the year before—and was named the SCIAC Freshman of the Year, was awarded All-West Region honors, and earned her way on to the All-SCIAC second team.
“Starting college, I was grateful to hit the ground running with having the responsibilities of my team and to have to figure out how I could get my academics in order,” Taylor reflects. She says that the structure of athletics taught her important time-management skills, which she carried with her throughout and after college. After her first year, Taylor went on to earn All-SCIAC honors in all three seasons, first-team all-league selections as a junior and senior, team MVP as a sophomore and junior, and the Scripps Alumnae Athlete of the Year Award as a senior. She also currently holds the #2 position in the CMS record book with 1,180 kills.
“I feel like athletics at CMS really allowed me to embrace the entire 5C experience,” says Taylor. “I don’t think I would have done as much exploring of the other colleges if I had not been in athletics.”
Not only did CMS athletics offer her structure to help her thrive, it also gifted her lasting relationships. “Some of my best friends today are from my team, and I would probably never have met them had I not been on the team with them,” she says.
Through CMS athletics, Taylor also met her husband, who played basketball at Claremont McKenna. The pair has been together for 19 years and are raising two kids. However, Taylor’s journey after graduating in 2006 hasn’t been easy. She worked in finance for six years before being diagnosed with lung cancer. After going through chemotherapy, surgery to remove her right lung, and radiation treatment, Taylor is now a full-time mom and active in the PTA.
“I sometimes can’t believe this is where my path has led, but I could not be happier,” she says. “When I was diagnosed, we did not have children. And it became very clear to me that that was something I wanted more than anything. So I’m really grateful to be where I am now.”
Taylor reiterates that the personal connections she made during her time at Scripps have been hugely influential for her after graduation.
She says, “The connections that I got from the five colleges—with people who are like-minded and different-minded, people from different backgrounds—have led to deep and lasting relationships that I credit with some of the happiest memories of my life.”
Growing up in a small, conservative town, Taylor was taught the importance of independent thinking by her parents. At Scripps, she expresses gratitude for the opportunity to embrace more world views and perspectives that she otherwise would not have been exposed to.
Taylor states, “I’m so grateful to have had a place that allowed me to flourish and to learn about myself and about the world around me.”