Student Spotlight: Andrew Taylor

Raised in Wallingford, Connecticut, sophomore management information systems (MIS) major Andrew Taylor learned of his love for technology when he was introduced to the Sega Genesis by his father. In experiencing classic video games titles like the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, he developed an appreciation for the underlying complexities behind a fully functioning piece of software. This followed him to his high school years, where he partook in coding classes to improve upon his growing computer literacy. He learned coding languages such as Java and Visual Basic to satisfy his technical curiosity, but found that the fundamentals only spurred his desire to learn more.

Andrew sits across from me in the OPIM Innovate Lab, patiently waiting for me to begin the interview. He has lent me his laptop computer to take notes, a kind gesture on his part after I informed him that the battery on my own machine had died. If there is one thing I can say about Andrew’s character from the brief time that I have known him, it is that he is a selfless and thoughtful individual. Acts of kindness are never few and far in between with him, and they are easily reciprocated by his friends. Only a few minutes after commencing Andrew’s interview, for example, a mutual friend of ours tells me to make sure I write him “the article he deserves.” Andrew laughs it off as a joke, reaffirming my belief that he is a genuinely humble person. To him, praise is not the reward–making an impact is.

When deciding his college major, Andrew already knew that he wanted to declare MIS. “I knew that MIS would give me a lot of analytical thinking skills related to general business strategy. I also knew that it would give me a technical perspective on business problems.” In discussing this further, Andrew professes to me that he did not want to become an individual too engrossed in functional expertise to be flexible. “In MIS, you learn to communicate beyond your technical foundation. Especially for those who don’t have strong soft skills, that’s important. While I identify as someone who is more attracted to the technical side of MIS, the major has challenged me to become better at public speaking and presenting to a general audience, something that’s really broadened my perspective.”

Outside of the MIS major, Andrew is the Alumni Relations Manager for the Information Management Association (IMA). As the Alumni Relations Manager, he is responsible for keeping in close contact with alumni, encouraging alumni to get involved with the MIS curriculum, and organizing alumni-student events. “Right now, I am planning an alumni panel on April 16th where five UConn alums will come in and talk about their experiences as students. It will mainly focus on how they got internships and how they made the MIS major work for them, but it’s open to all UConn students.”

In terms of his personal interests, Andrew informs me that he and his roommate want to become entrepreneurs. They are currently working on attaining an LLC license, and are working on a prototype compression program to make files smaller than they already are. “It’s based on a certain algorithm that we constructed; we’re implementing it now to see if it actually works. It’s for all types of large files, and our goal is to have the algorithm compress more than what’s currently offered.” When I ask him if he has a name for his LLC, a sudden jolt of energy bursts from him. “We don’t!” He says. “The hardest part is always coming up with the name! We’ve been trying to for the past year-and-a-half, and we still can’t come up with one.”

Andrew and his roommate hope to one day turn their LLC into a video game company that specializes in cloud gaming. Until then, they hope to penetrate the general technology industry with their algorithm and provide a more effective solution for compressing big data. They continuously share their technical knowledge with each other in preparation for the future, and let their mutual ambition inspire each other. “We were friends in high school and used to make video games together. Now, we just want to make those experiences something more than good memories.”