A Passion for Bugs Leads to MSU

Taylor Hori followed her passion for bugs and it led her straight to Michigan State University.

Taylor Hori with a bug friend in the MSU Bug House.
Taylor Hori with a bug friend in the MSU Bug House.
Name: Taylor Hori
Hometown or state or country: San Diego, CA
Studies: Entomology Major
Future Plans: The sky’s the limit – I’ll see where the winds take me.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology?

I took Dr. Rick Redak’s “Intro to Entomology” course at UC Riverside back in 2010 and was hooked. It was essentially a systematics class for humanities majors, memorizing defining characteristics of each order. I couldn’t get enough. Nine years later, I was incredibly unhappy in my marketing career and my husband (then boyfriend) asked me if I could do anything, what would I do? I didn’t even hesitate to say, “I’d study the bugs.”

What has been your best experience with entomology?

It’s a tie. Either leaving Dr. Chung’s Insect Physiology class and exchanging “WTF that was so cool” looks with my friends. Living “mind blown” 🤯 emojis walking down the hallway. Or watching as kids (and their parents) hold different insects in the Bug House. It’s a special moment when you can watch someone step into their bravery and overcome whatever hang-up they may have about holding a cockroach or tarantula.

What has been your most significant experience with Entomology outside of your classwork?

Writing my first grant proposal. Then writing my second grant proposal. So many tears. So much self-doubt. Those were big growing experiences for me to be bad at something again and, instead of giving up, lean into being uncomfortable, trust my mentors, and trust the process.

Do you have advice for anyone interested in an entomology major or minor?

This field is so incredibly broad. Don’t limit yourself and explore labs at either end of the spectrum. Pay attention in your general science classes – they matter!

What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of your studies?

I recently joined a co-ed pick-up soccer league! I used to play competitively through middle and high school and fell out of love with the sport. Playing with this group is just plain fun.

What is your favorite thing about MSU?

Coming from Southern California, I’ve loved watching the seasons change. Super cliché, I know, but it tickles my sense of childlike awe to watch a tangible passage of time. UC Riverside did not have a football team – watching the energy that descends over campus for a game feels like checking a “classic college memory” box.


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