In his sophomore year at Loyola Marymount University, Taydin Macon experienced an epiphany about the two disciplines that interested him most.
Macon was majoring in physics when he took a course in philosophical inquiry that stuck with him. Suddenly in his physics classes, he was thinking philosophically about the ramifications of the proofs his professors were explaining. And rather than choose between them, he decided to become a double major. “I realized I’d be missing out on so much if I were just to choose one over the other,” says Macon, now a senior.
As Macon sees it, physics and philosophy share a common theme. “Both involve problem solving and aim to answer similar questions —why are we here, and how is it that we’re here,” he says. Beyond the problem-solving aspect of physics, Macon is drawn to the math. “It can be very difficult, but when you step back and look at it all, it’s so elegant and beautiful,” he says.
Macon has immersed himself in the activities of the physics department, where he’s been a regular fixture as a TA, lab assistant and tutor since the beginning of his sophomore year. “This is a relatively small department, so it’s important for all of us to contribute,” he says. “It also helps to reinforce the material I’ve learned.” He has been an active member of LMU’s Society of Physics Students —serving first as secretary and this year as vice president of the campus club. All of that led to Macon earning the physics department’s Jeff Sanny Award, given to a student who has made significant contributions through TA-ing, recruiting, or community-building. “It feels great to have your hard work recognized,” Macon says of the award. “It tells me I’m making a difference.”
Macon grew up in Tehachapi, California, a small mountain town about two hours from Los Angeles. He fell in love with LMU after a visit to the campus during his junior year of high school, and hasn’t looked back. Ultimately he plans to go to graduate school, but first he would like to spend time in the workforce. “I feel a calling to help people, and am looking to the nonprofit sector to help fulfill that calling as I gain work experience,” he says. “I’ve had so many opportunities to explore so many different things and interact with so many different people at LMU. It’s opened my eyes to all that’s possible.”