Mandi Taylor took a leave of absence from college for 17 years for a very good reason: to raise her six children. She had to undergo open heart surgery in 2012 to fix a previously undiagnosed birth defect—a hole in her heart that was the size of a quarter. She experienced some complications and had to have a second surgery in 2017.
Now that Taylor’s kids are all attending school themselves and her health is in a good place, she decided she was ready to go back to school. But her finances are tight, so she applied for a scholarship at Salt Lake Community College. She was thrilled to discover that she was awarded the Paul & Kristina Cardall Family Scholarship. “The scholarship allows me to focus on my degree and my family. It is a great blessing. I can’t even describe how grateful I am,” she says.
Taylor, who is a first-generation college student, hopes her children will learn from her example and eventually go to college themselves. Her oldest daughter has already started planning a career in psychiatry, and her oldest son wants to be an airline pilot. She is encouraging her kids to start their college experience at SLCC. As she explains, “SLCC provides so much flexibility, and the teachers are the best.”
Taylor is studying to be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, and she loves the ASL program at SLCC. “Most of the professors here are from the deaf community, so I am learning from people who have first-hand experience with the language,” she says. She ultimately wants to focus on interpreting in mental health and trauma recovery settings, saying, “I want to be there to facilitate communication in these fields where, I know from my own experience, things are stressful enough without a language barrier.”
About the Paul & Kristina Cardall Family Scholarship
Paul Cardall is a pianist, composer and producer, and he also happens to be an SLCC alumnus. He and his spouse, Kristina, created a scholarship at SLCC to help students who have suffered from congenital heart disease. As someone who has dealt with heart issues, Paul Cardall wanted to help other people with the same condition. To read more about Paul Cardall and his philanthropic pursuits, check outabout him in SLCC Magazine.