Taylor DiCicco is Ready to Serve


When Manderson MBA student Taylor DiCicco was only nine years old, and her half brother, Sean, was 30, he died suddenly. DiCicco was told that her brother’s death was an accident, and that the Air Force veteran had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun. She accepted the explanation until high school, when one day it suddenly hit her: In the throes of PTSD, her brother had taken his own life.

The tragedy left an indelible mark on DiCicco. It propelled her into service work, for one thing. The Alabaster native, who comes across as an interesting mixture of idealistic and solidly practical, admits she never had a “dream school.” Alabama was a good fit, and here she is. But that doesn’t mean she does not have dreams. It’s just that most of them involve making the world a better place, one service activity at a time. Her most rewarding service events have included animal shelters, Love Letters for Literacy, Love for our Elders letters, food pantries and banks, fundraising for UNICEF’s Brick x Brick project, prisoner advocacy, Habitat for Humanity build days, and Christmas presents for African children.

Much of her service work has been through Circle K International (CKI), a collegiate service organization in which she has held several offices. In conversation, she mentions volunteer positions in CKI and other charitable organizations not as if she is bragging, but as if they are afterthoughts, interesting tidbits that didn’t quite make the headline: community service chair for Manderson MBA Association; volunteer coordinator for Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry; club president for CKI, district lieutenant governor for CKI; most recently international trustee for CKI. Clearly she is driven by service, but leadership positions seem to find her on the way.

She keeps coming back to veteran advocacy. Though DiCicco did Air Force JROTC in high school, and was state president her senior year, she is not a veteran herself. Yet she cares deeply about veteran welfare. As a Blackburn Fellow at The University of Alabama, she interned with the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. She remembers the challenge of taking phone calls from veterans who were themselves pondering suicide. She went on to become a member of the Alabama National Cemetery’s Support Committee and served as the MC for 2023’s Memorial Day Ceremony. “Helping veterans was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had,” she said.

But ultimately, DiCicco is not sure where or how she should serve. That’s part of her reason for enrolling at Manderson. After earning her bachelor’s degrees in political science and finance at Alabama, DiCicco did not feel ready to move on. “Honestly, I wasn’t done here,” she said. She figured that an MBA, especially a Manderson MBA, would be a good investment, and it would give her time to figure out her next move.

And, to her surprise, it would give her a community of people to serve and serve alongside. “We all lean on each other,” she reflected. “We all rely on each other, which I love and I did not—I’m gonna be honest—I didn’t expect it.”

Know a veteran in crisis? The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential hotline, online chat, or text. Dial 988 and Press 1 or visit veterancrisisline.net for crisis chat services and more information.

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Zach thomas

Director of Marketing & Communications