Kelsi Taylor – Medical Editor

June 7, 2023
Jenna Nicholas

Meet Kelsi Taylor

Kelsi Taylor is a Medical Editor and business owner from Nashville, Tennessee, specializing in scientific publications and communications. She accidentally found her way to the industry: through a series of major life decisions and a Harvard-sized regret. 

Kelsi grew up in a small, southern town, raised by her mother, a teacher, and aspiring author. Kelsi’s childhood was filled with life, “loud and noisy and fun.” Everyone knew everyone, so there was always something to do and someone to do it with. She was surrounded by her grandparents, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins, holidays were big, and cooking was a constant.

Her mother eventually worked her way up into administration upon earning a master’s degree and published her first book. Her graduation happened to coincide with Kelsi’s high school one. “I was grateful to see her accomplish her dreams as I was finishing something so monumental myself. It set a precedent for me that if I set a goal and stuck with it, I could eventually accomplish whatever I wanted. ”

An ambitious child, Kelsi began planning her career in elementary school. For a school project, she had to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Kelsi got to researching; she learned more about teaching, intrigued by her mother’s job and by the opportunity to contribute to her community, but was deterred by the financial ceiling of the profession. What she already knew at such a young age was that she wanted to earn a substantial living. “I was very aware from early on about the lifestyle I wanted for myself and my future family. My mom encouraged us to embrace a European view of working to live instead of living to work.”

Kelsi considered how to achieve that. With her dedication to her community and a love of  science, she landed on the idea of a career as a pediatrician. Easy enough, her eight-year-old self thought. She simply needed to do well in school, earn a medical degree and complete an internship.

And she did do well, graduating high school as valedictorian, obtaining national accolades, and even turning down Harvard. “I was so used to being around family that I feared leaving my hometown…when you live in a really tight-knit community, there’s all of this anxiety when you try to do something different. I had recently lost both of my grandparents to heart issues and my mom was dealing with high blood pressure. As the oldest child, it was assumed I would take on the role of caregiver. Additionally, as a woman, it was imposed upon me that my goals were marriage, house, and children by the age of 25. So, I was always an anomaly. My family saw me leaving for Massachusetts as going into this big scary world and leaving everything I’d been taught behind.”

Attending College

While she sometimes regrets passing up Harvard and wonders about the missed opportunities to have come from it, this choice also brought her one step closer to her destined career and with a lot less debt. But the idea of becoming a doctor remained cemented in her mind all the way through undergraduate school. She earned her B.S. in Biology and then went on to earn her master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from the University of Florida while working in the hospital as a clinical research associate.

After completing her graduate degree, Kelsi took the next step in pursuing medical school acceptance, but she was soon worn down by constant schooling and the application process. She had her son at this point and was married to the military, so her plate was full without adding a major educational commitment. The appeal of becoming a doctor had also waned after seeing the work in action from her job at the hospital. Even though the work she saw each day was important, she craved more freedom to enjoy life in the moment. Perhaps, this was not meant to be.

“I had this come to Jesus moment with myself. I took out a piece of paper, and asked myself, ‘Okay, out of all the jobs you’ve ever done, what was the thing you loved?’” Kelsi remembered a course from graduate school called Journal Colloquialism, where she learned how to review and analyze scientific research papers. She further developed this skill by volunteering as a reviewer and copy editor for the Journal of Undergraduate Research. She then remembered her advisor. Kelsi recalled thinking at the time that she would have loved to have her job; to be the person who reviews the journals, ensures deadlines are met and gets to indulge in their love of writing.

With this epiphany, Kelsi once again got to researching her future career. She knew her advisor had a doctorate, but more schooling was already off the table for Kelsi. Fortunately, she found that while PhDs were often preferred for journal editing, it wasn’t an absolute necessity. A bachelor’s in science, English or a related field could suffice. “So I found this entire career field that I didn’t even know existed. It was the perfect way to combine my love of scientific research with the flexibility I desired while still contributing to the medical world.”

Kelsi took a leap of faith and sent out her applications. Employers responded quickly to set up interviews, some of whom even required a PhD. She soon secured two remote positions. It was a pivotal moment for Kelsi, in transforming her career into something she loved that fit into her life. As a now single parent, who had started homeschooling her child, finding balance was a challenge. “My mom had also suffered a massive stroke during this time, making her hemiplegic. I quickly realized that life can change in an instant, and I became even more appreciative that this career shift had allowed me to make so many memories with my loved ones.” As a medical editor, she is able to work from anywhere, set her own schedule, prioritize her physical and mental health, and live the lifestyle of her dreams.

Two years ago, Kelsi launched her own consulting business, “Edited By Kelsi”. Her mission is to support other women in their careers, and she provides her clients with training on medical editing and broader professional development. “I coach women that either work in editing or want to work in medical communications and publications. I help them learn the process and thus edit their lives into the vision they have imagined. How do you market yourself? What’s needed in the field? Where do you go to look for jobs? We cover all of these topics in my programs.”

The catalyst for the business arose from Kelsi’s mentorship of a young woman in the sciences. Kelsi’s mentee struggled to find well-paying employment in biology because she didn’t have an advanced degree. Kelsi realized she could share her knowledge of medical editing to widen the young woman’s career options.  

The idea took off from there. Kelsi found that, like herself initially, not many people were aware of medical editing as a career option. “I realized that a lot of people, especially women, come out with science degrees or even psychology, sociology, and sometimes education degrees. What happens when we need to adjust what we want to our career goals or cannot make a livable income?  Many women who aspire to become doctors think that there’s no middle point between having that biology degree and being a doctor or direct healthcare provider. What happens if that doesn’t work out?”

Kelsi’s ultimate goal is to transform her company into the go-to resource for not only women in STEM seeking alternative careers within the field but for any woman and/or mother in need of a flexible and stable form of employment. Down the road, Kelsi would like to create a centralized job board specific to the industry to make finding opportunities even more accessible. “It’s important to let other women know that this is a possibility and a way to have financial freedom and work remotely because I do that now all while homeschooling. I’ve become a bit of a digital nomad. We travel whenever we want and learn through real-world experiences. So far, we have visited 28 states in the past 3 years. I never imagined we’d be able to do that.”

The path here was not linear and certainly not easy. Graduate school was filled with immense uncertainty as she realized she was not meant to become a doctor. All this time and effort toward that goal felt futile at the moment. “The plan since elementary school was to fast-track through undergrad and go straight into med school. I remember thinking why am I taking all of these extra steps and even taking the journal classes? They weren’t lab-based.” She responds with a laugh, “I was in tears telling my mom…I do not want to do this. I thought I was so off track.” 

Kelsi’s mother assured her this unexpected path of hers was for a reason that had yet to reveal itself. She was, of course, right. Had it not been for the track Kelsi was on, she wouldn’t have had the foundational experiences in reviewing scientific manuscripts which served as the springboard to pivot her career. 

Currently, Kelsi splits her time as the Director of Scientific Publications and Engagement at a neuroscience nonprofit and runs her business. She aims to grow her company to the point she can afford to transition to working part time as an editor and a few days per week solely for herself. Currently, she primarily garners clients through relationship building and word of mouth. Marketing her business is one of the more challenging aspects of the work for Kelsi. “I can be very introverted, so it’s kind of hard for me…just putting myself out there to people I don’t know…I get super nervous about jumping in and telling others about what I do.”

But Kelsi practices pushing herself beyond her internalized limits, having learned from the ‘what-ifs’ of her Harvard decision.”I am currently focused on building my legacy. I will welcome a little girl of my own into the world soon. I would want her and my son to explore all of their options courageously.” She smiles briefly, “Who knows? Maybe if they get the chance, they will both choose Harvard.” 

She is now building her social media platforms and happily embracing moments to collaborate with other women entrepreneurs, so she can engage in online marketing to take her company to new heights. And while there is still so much more Kelsi would like to achieve, what she knows to be true is what she is doing now, is exactly meant for her. She has come a long way from being unable to leave behind her hometown. It is her own uneven journey that enables personalized connections with her clients. Kelsi knows what it takes to make one’s own path, to work through fear – and what is possible on the other side. “When opportunities present themselves, take the path of least resistance and just go for it. And be brave. Definitely be brave.”

You can learn more about her story and how to work with Kelsi by visiting her