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Student’s remarkable persistence pays off

William Taylor flunked out of Binghamton University more than 20 years ago.

“Basically, I’ve been working on coming back ever since,” he said. “I wanted to finish what I started. I’ve always been interested in learning.”

Taylor, who returned to the University in 2005, now hopes to finish his bachelor’s degree in English in the fall and plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science after that.

“The more I learn, the greater my expectations become,” he said.

There was a time when Taylor’s biggest hope was to live to see the next day. The Queens native struggled with depression and homelessness and made a living as a vacuum salesman.

Now, he’s an award-winning writer with plans to create a business, thanks in part to encouragement from graduate student Katherine Arnoldi, his writing instructor; Angelo Mastrangelo, who taught a class he took in entrepreneurism; and staff with the Educational Opportunity Program and Services for Students with Disabilities.

Taylor recently got word from White Wolf Publishing that he won a contest for stories inspired by a game called Mage: The Ascension.

He has always been a science fiction fan, though he also enjoys reading about pop psychology, physics, chemistry and math. Taylor counts Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury and Napoleon Hill among his writing influences.

Taylor, who hopes to apply the skills used in telling a story to writing software, said Mastrangelo helped him create a business plan for a service to help people exchange things and get answers.

“Before, I had a dream,” Taylor said. “Now I have a plan to get what I want.”
Mastrangelo said he has been impressed by this student’s hard work and writing ability.

“He has so many good ideas, and he communicates well,” Mastrangelo said. “He sees the overall picture really well, which is very unusual.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08