Double major graduates with honors in pursuit of career in law
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.
Growing up in Chandler, Arizona, Taylor Guthrie always knew she would be attending a university after high school.
“My mom was a teacher when I was growing up and always taught me to value my education and the learning process,” Guthrie said.
Since her junior year in high school, she knew she wanted to attend law school after her undergraduate studies to pursue her dream of working with an MLB or NFL team as general counsel, but knew it was a long road ahead.
She attended Xavier College Preparatory and was able to earn her associate’s degree through Rio Salado College dual enrollment program prior to enrolling at Arizona State University as a New American University Scholar.
Guthrie joined Barrett, The Honors College and the Gamma Phi chapter of Delta Gamma, through which she earned the Michelle Lucienne Chaudoin Memorial Scholarship, and decided to double major in psychology from the Department of Psychology and philosophy with a concentration in morality, politics and law through the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.
While attending ASU, she tackled classes, work and extracurriculars through a careful balance of responsibilities and is graduating this semester with a 4.15 GPA.
“I was able to try to plan each semester so that I had an equal amount of classes that I knew were classes that were my strong suit with an equal amount of classes that I thought I may have to work a little harder in,” Guthrie said. “This helped me to never feel overwhelmed.”
Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: Probably my first week of class with my PHI 101 professor, Dr. Thad Botham. He immediately drew my attention with his discussion of logic and how that is the key to every argument. This made me deeply interested in philosophy and more specifically how it can be applied to the law. In terms of psychology, I had always had a fascination with human behavior and wanted to see how I could best equip myself to eventually practice law. I also have a deep interest in mental health, as someone who has been a “perfectionist” for most of my life. Once I reached college, I realized that my path was unsustainable and I would burn out if I did not take care of my body and mind.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: One thing that changed my perspective while at ASU is that grades come second to actually learning the material. If you don’t understand the material, skating by with good grades at some point becomes an issue. Investing the time to actually learn and comprehend the material pays off in the long run. Also, that there is no shame in asking for help.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because it gave me the best opportunity to succeed and take the courses that I knew I wanted to. Barrett specifically was an incredible opportunity where I felt challenged yet supported at the same time. All of the professors I experienced wanted me to succeed and gave me the appropriate help when I needed it.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Dr. Shawn Klein, who was my thesis adviser, taught me an important lesson regarding revisions and suggestions. I used to be very protective of my work and have tendencies to want everything to be perfect. Dr. Klein taught me that revisions are there not to criticize you, but to help you make things stronger. Dr. Botham taught me to be very intentional with the language one uses. It seems that misinterpretation happens to be at the heart of many disagreements. If we are intentional and thoughtful with the words that we use, that seems to remove some of that risk for misinterpretation.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Be kind to yourself. It is really easy to be hard on yourself, especially when in school. Just remember that education is about learning and sometimes our best learning comes from mistakes or shortcomings.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: Studying while on campus, my favorite place was either Honors Hall at Barrett or at the new Hayden Library in a study room. During online classes, I really liked going to Infusion Coffee & Tea.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I am planning on continuing to work at the law firm I currently work at while studying for the Law School Admissions Test. I decided to take a gap year before starting law school so that I can gain some more relevant experience.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would love to work to support education for girls across the world. One of the things that I have fostered and developed at ASU is a strong desire to support women in their professional and educational endeavors. When I was a freshman in high school, I was lucky enough to attend a speaking event by Malala Yousafzai, someone who I greatly admire. Education is something that I feel many people, including myself, can take advantage of or underappreciate. In fact, being able to receive an education is a privilege to many. Furthermore, I believe that women have long been undervalued and underappreciated as educational and professional peers. Funding of that amount could help support the advancement of educational and professional opportunities or scholarships for women in instances where such opportunities or scholarships are limited.