Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Mackenzie Warren, Born to Lead

Mackenzie is ready for a game!

This past weekend junior Mackenzie Warren, a busy community leader, took the opportunity to be celebrated by others during her birthday. A devoted student here at Duke University, Warren knew that the University would be the ideal oyster to nurture her passion for people as a psychology major.

The Houston native attended an accelerated, academically-intense high school that did not offer many sports or extracurricular enrichment. During her campus tour, however, Warren was impressed with the University’s ability to provide the academic rigor that she was used to and the plethora of school spirit activities that she desired. “Devil Days exhibited the versatility, balance, and passion that students have at Duke” Warren shared. “Students are more than just students; we can enjoy balanced lives where we can contribute intelligence as well as varied personalities and perspectives.” When the University contacted Warren to be a member of the Gap Year Program after its receipt of her regular admissions application, she decided to make Duke the next stop on her journey and sharpen her gift of leadership.

“Being equipped with the knowledge of peoples’ thinking and behaviors has made me more understanding to peoples’ circumstances – especially those to which I may not be able to directly relate.”

Proven by her service as a Duke Admissions Ambassador to aspiring blue devils, Warren has always possessed a passion for people and was confident that her decision to major in psychology would allow her to learn how to become more effective in cultivating relationships – especially with those she serves. “The psychology program has lived up to my expectations and has equipped me with the understanding of how to be better in relationships with people and be more understanding towards others” Warren mentioned. “People exist in context – biologically, psychologically, etc.; and effective advocacy for others requires the ability to have empathy and not judge a book by its cover.”

Warren plans to integrate the skills she acquires from majoring in psychology with legal education and improve education equity challenges faced by students in underserved and vulnerable communities. “Education has been an integral part of my upbringing and my parents instilled its priority in me” Warren reflects. “Education should be within reach to anyone, and I want to help ensure that children experience uninhibited opportunities.”

Upon graduation, Warren will attend law school, become an attorney and ensure that every school that she assists is appropriately funded. She is considering the wide variety of opportunities that will lead her down the path to direct representation of students that have been wronged – whether it be sexual harassment, disproportionate punishment, or unjust treatment towards students in special education programs. Warren also shared that she wants to address the school-to-prison pipeline by attending law school. “Attending law school will allow me to leverage psychology and the greatest authority of the land—the nation's laws— for the service of students who are often overlooked.”

Warren has also obtained a myriad of leadership skills through vigorously serving her communities – both on and off campus. She plans events for Reform University Fellowship Group; serves as a recruiter and student panelist as a current Baldwin Scholar; chairs the programming committee for the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program; and helps high school students navigate the college and scholarship  application processes at the Emily K. Center.