Pride of the Jaguar Battalion: Taylor Cook

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Augusta University Cadet Taylor Cook comes from a military family and said it was "kind of second nature that I follow the same route."

In this new monthly series, Jagwire will feature a cadet who is enrolled in Augusta University’s ROTC program and a member of the Jaguar Army ROTC Battalion.

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?

I’m originally from Las Vegas, but since I’m an Army brat, I’ve lived my life mainly among southern bases, spending most of my time in Georgia. I graduated from Grovetown High School, but I was only there for a year. I spent most of my time at Long County High School right alongside Fort Stewart.

Why did you choose to attend Augusta University?

Besides being close to where I live, I really liked the size and campus. I didn’t feel like I’d get lost in the school, and I also really liked the ROTC program. I liked the size, and I was excited to build a more personal relationship with fellow cadets and the cadre.

How did you become interested in the ROTC/military?

I come from a big military family, so it was kind of second nature that I follow the same route. My sister is three grades above me and is in her senior year, and I was able to see what she’s done and achieved through ROTC, which influenced me a lot. She just branched med services, actually, so knowing how seriously and hard she worked to achieve her No. 1 pick is something that shows me her hard work really paid off. I also had a chance to speak with the previous professor of military science at a college fair while I was still in high school and meeting her and a few of the cadets really gave me a taste of what it would feel like being a part of the Jaguar Battalion.

Why did you choose to pursue the degree that you’ve selected?

I actually just switched my major from pre-med biology to cybersecurity. With the pandemic going on, I felt like it would be a better fit for me to have less hands-on courses, and cybersecurity was something that piqued my interest. It’s a rising field and I think it’d be great to be a part of, so I look forward to progressing and learning more.

What are your long-term plans for the military?

I’d love to see myself branching cyber, and overall making a career out of the military. My dad’s been in the Army since 2003 and is still active, so watching him grow and get more confident and comfortable in his career is something I really admire and aspire to be a part of as well. In all the time I’ve been moved around with the Army, I’ve never been overseas, so I’d also love to be able to see more of the world in my Army career.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions of being in the ROTC?

I feel like a lot of people think of ROTC and think of wanna-be soldiers. I don’t think people realize the learning and teamwork that takes place. While it is exciting learning military things, personally I’m here to learn as much as I can from instruction and my peers and aim to commission as the best officer I can be. We don’t get screamed at and told to drop and give them 50, but instead taught with a mutual sense of respect.

Use one word to describe cadet life.

Codependent.

What has been the hardest adjustment to preparing for the military?

Definitely waking up early. I live about half an hour away from campus and I prefer being early, so waking up extra early for PT is still something I’m getting used to.

What are you most excited about now that you are a part of Jaguar Nation and the Jaguar Battalion?

I’m really looking forward to the opportunities and relationships that will come with being a cadet. Having the chance to have so many new experiences and new insights is really exciting, as well as when I consider how the things I’m learning can benefit me outside of ROTC. That’s why I love the size of our battalion; it’s not too large that I get lost among everyone but instead, just the right size for having a variety of cadets and personalities.

Use one word to sum up your experience as a Jaguar.

Comprehensive.

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Written by
Miguelangelo Hernandez

Miguelangelo Hernandez is a senior communications and media coordinator at Augusta University. He covers College of Allied Health Sciences, College of Nursing, The Dental College of Georgia, College of Science and Mathematics and Augusta University Athletics. You can reach him at mighernandez@augusta.edu or (706) 993-6411.

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Written by Miguelangelo Hernandez

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

Read on for stories of innovation in education and health care, opportunities at the center of Georgia’s new cybersecurity hub, and experiential learning that blends arts and application, humanities and the health sciences.