This was May Young’s, associate professor and program director of biblical studies, initial reaction to receiving the 2021 Taylor University Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award.
She credited her shock to the fact that she knows there are so many amazing professors at Taylor.
“I was very humbled to be the person to receive it,” Young said.
Young’s journey to become Taylor’s most recent Professor of the Year Award recipient has been marked by many steps, but she testifies that God’s hand can be seen guiding her through every part of the process.
Born in Hong Kong, Young came to the U.S. when she was four months old and grew up in the Chicago area. After graduating from the University of Illinois, she worked in the business world as a benefits consultant, simultaneously studying for a Masters of Divinity. Her plans changed however, when she felt God calling her to quit and pursue a PhD in Theological Studies: Old Testament.
It took Young eight years to attain her PhD. When she finished, her Master’s consultant, Discipleship Assistant Carson, introduced her to Taylor University, who was looking to hire a one-year fill-in.
Young says that during her interview at Taylor, she fell in love with the community and the way the professors truly loved and cared for their students. She knew from the beginning that she wanted to be a part of what she saw.
Young wasn’t the only one who saw something unique in the interview process: after meeting with Young, Taylor amended the initial contract to offer her a full-time, permanent position.
In her 7th year at Taylor, Young finds herself in the current role of teaching Historic Christian Belief, Biblical Literature I, The Hebrew Language and Hebrew Prophets.
“I count it a privilege to be able to teach the Bible,” Young said.
It is already a passion of hers, and the opportunity to share it with students as her profession is even better.
Yet another thing Young sees as a privilege is simply getting to know the students that she teaches. Whether it’s over a cup of coffee, during a meal or through a mentorship program, she enjoys hearing everybody’s different stories and being a part of their lives.
Through this connection with students, Young observes a lot of stress and pressure that they put on themselves in order to figure out their next steps. She says that much of this could be avoided if they are constantly reminded of the Scripture-based sentiment that this is not what the Lord intends for them to do.
“It’s okay you don’t have everything figured out,” Young said.
As long as we walk in surrender to the Lord, there should be no worry, she said. The pressure to perform dissolves when God proclaims that we are already dearly loved. This doesn’t mean not preparing for things to come, but rather fully trusting that the Lord will lead and guide, come what may.
Young serves as an example of this wholehearted trust in the Lord, despite changes in plans.
“Even if we plan something, it’s really the Lord’s will that prevails anyways, right?” Young said. “He’s the one who directs our steps.”
Her advice, though directed to Taylor students, can clearly be seen applied in her own life. Following Christ, Young’s steps have been directed: from Hong Kong to Chicago to the business world to Taylor —and ultimately to the podium to receive her well-deserved award.