Many college students have a dream of graduating with their bachelor’s degree in hand by the end of their fourth year, but for Eastern Michigan University senior Taylor Reckert, having a bachelor’s and master’s degree is her goal.
Reckert is on track to receive her bachelor’s and master’s from the occupational therapy program in December 2013.
“It is a three-plus-two year program, and that is how I will end up with both degrees,” she said.
Reckert, 22, has one younger brother: Logan, who is currently in high school.
She is from Mundelein, Ill., which is 40 minutes from Chicago. Reckert attended Mundelein High School, where she was a two-sport star in diving and gymnastics.
“I started doing gymnastics at age five and I did that through most of high school,” she said. “I did quit club gymnastics in eighth grade and my older friends told me [I] should try diving since it is the same but instead going into water, and I liked it so that is how I got into that sport in high school.”
Her parents, Jeanette and Bill, have been a very strong influence for their daughter.
“My parents have supported me in anything I did; they took me to all of my practices and we would travel a lot,” Reckert said. “More importantly, they taught me a lot about responsibility and how to balance school and athletics.”
In high school, Reckert was in the National Honor Society and had a cumulative 4.2 grade-point average.
Before coming to EMU, she considered other schools such as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Saint Louis University.
Ultimately, Reckert chose EMU not only for diving but the strong occupational therapy program.
Many student-athletes have a dream of going professional in their sport, but a lot of them know when the end is near, it is ultimately time to hang it up and move on to the real world.
For Reckert, her realization came after the end of her freshman year of diving at EMU, when she quit the diving team to focus on the goal of finishing the occupational therapy program.
“My coach [Loren “Buck” Smith] wasn’t happy initially about my decision to quit the team after the MAC championship, but he supported [it] because I knew the program that I wanted to get into would take more time than diving,” she said. “When you are in a sport in college, that sport pretty much becomes your life, and I knew that I wanted school to be more of my life than diving.
Balancing school and diving would not have worked because practice would have been during class time. I had to do fieldwork experiences and put in a ton of hours for that.”
As a way to stay active in competitions, Reckert decided to run in the Detroit Free Press Marathon last October.
However, she almost never made it to the event because the day before, on the way to a wedding Illinois, she and another friend were rear-ended and Reckert suffered whiplash.
“The doctors told me that I should not run in the marathon at all,” she said. “At the same time, I had trained for the event and I needed to get it off of my bucket list, so I ended up running the marathon. It was very painful, but worth the experience.”
Reckert’s roommate Megan DeVoe watched her run in the marathon and remembers her determination to run in the event.
“True to her character, she would not be dismayed by whiplash or an aching back from running the 26.2-mile race,” DeVoe said. “I ran alongside her at the 17-mile mark and told her that she only had an hour and a half left in her race, that she could do it, and an hour and a half was nothing, and her response to me was, ‘I want to die.’ Facetious of course, but the point remains. She finished that race and drank her Diet Coke.”
Reckert received a medal for completing the race in 4 hours, 30 minutes and 59 seconds, and said it was one of her greatest accomplishments as an athlete.
Out of all the classes Reckert has taken, she said she enjoys her programming class.
“We learned how to work with children a lot, and once I graduate I would like to work with kids,” she said.
After graduating, Reckert wants to work with children who have autism and people with spinal cord injuries.
She plans on moving either back home or to Colorado.
Her favorite places to shop are the Nike Outlet and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
When it comes to food, Reckert’s favorite is watermelon.
“I love fruit and vegetables a lot because you have to keep the body healthy, and it is good for you,” she said.
Reckert’s mother was her biggest role model growing up.
“She never went college, but has helped support me and my brother,” she said. “My dad is there too, but my mom was around more often.
She has always taught me to be responsible and motivated in life.”
Reckert’s brother also had good things to say about her.
“Taylor is always a caring and helpful person to everybody,” Logan said. “I look up to her as one of my role models. She has taught me a lot over the years and I know she will always be there for me. She is the best sister anybody could ask for.”
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