Taylor Tuscherer ’10
- Photo by Eileen Ryan
Taylor Tuscherer PhD ’10 became a data analyst and professor after studying psychology and history at Lake Forest College.
Taylor Tuscherer ’10 is one of our own, a 2010 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lake Forest College. While at Lake Forest, he majored in psychology and minored in history. In addition to winning the Sterling Price Williams Psychology prize, he completed a senior thesis with Professor of Psychology Sergio Guglielmi, using structural equation modeling to study social support.
Taylor then earned an MA and a PhD in social psychology (with a minor in applied statistics) at Miami University of Ohio. While at Miami, Taylor was awarded four years of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; the NSF reviewers cited “his unusually strong statistical skills” as one of the factors they considered in giving him the award.
Taylor is currently a data analyst at 84.51˚, a market research company in Chicago. Every once in a while, we are lucky enough to have him come to campus to teach a psychology course (including our spring senior seminar, “Social Cognition”). Below, Taylor answers some questions about his time at Lake Forest College.
How would you describe your experience at Lake Forest College?
Transformative. I grew up in South Dakota and chased big city dreams all the way to Lake Forest. I wanted a small, intimate academic community with access to a major city and Lake Forest is one of the few schools in the country that fit the bill. From move-in day to graduation, faculty and staff went out of their way to make me feel welcome and nurture my intellectual and professional development. Lake Forest was the first time in my life where I truly felt I was at “home.” I loved the community so much so that during my junior year I decided to follow in my professors’ footsteps. After I graduated from Lake Forest, I pursued a PhD in the hopes of one day teaching at a small liberal arts school like the one that had come to mean so much to me. I would have never guessed that after five years, I would return to campus to teach the same classes that I took here as a student. It’s a dream come true.
Who was your most influential professor?
I have to pick just one?! I would say Professor Sergio “Gugs” Guglielmi. I took his Introductory Psychology class my first semester on campus. After that, he became my academic advisor. I took several other classes with him and he took me on as his thesis student my senior year. Gugs perfectly balanced the qualities I needed in a mentor—kind, persistent, jovial, tough, and wicked smart. He believed in me even when I didn’t and also took the wind out of my sails whenever my confidence got the best of me. He worked tirelessly with me for a year and half on my thesis, and, largely because of that, I was well prepared for the challenges that faced me in graduate school and beyond.
What was your favorite class at the College?
Professor Anna Jones’s History 326: Identity, Body, and Persecution in Medieval Europe was the most stimulating and intellectually gratifying class I ever took in college. Who would have thought that this aspiring scientist’s favorite college class would be about Christian theology in medieval Europe? Not me—at least not before I knew how exciting and fulfilling it is to be challenged outside of one’s academic comfort zone. Lake Forest has incredible professors who teach eye-opening courses in every discipline. I’m grateful that Professor Jones, and others like her, expanded my education beyond my major and instilled in me an appreciation for learning things far outside my typical academic interests.