6/02/2021 Alicia Morrissey

‘I’m So Grateful to Receive This Education and Have It Accessible to Someone Like Me’

Recent graduate Mackenzie Blackwell ’21 shares how financial aid opened the door to a top-notch institution and supported her dream of pursuing judicial activism, rights-oriented and constitutional law.

“Money doesn’t have to be a barrier for me to be in this elite space.”

Recent Franklin & Marshall College graduate Mackenzie Blackwell ’21 knew she wanted to leave her home state of Michigan and go to the East Coast for college. However, financing this dream was always top of mind. When Blackwell was accepted into F&M with financial aid support from endowed scholarships, she knew her dream was finally within reach. She visited the campus on admitted students’ day and decided.

“This is definitely the place for me,” she said.

Excited to be studying at a top-notch institution on the East Coast, Blackwell entered her first year planning to study government. Then, her first-year Connections course caught her attention. Taught by Professor of American Studies M. Alison Kibler, the subject matter of free speech and the First Amendment fascinated Blackwell. She knew she had to dive in further. When the time arrived to declare her major, she combined her passions and became a government and American studies joint major.

  • Mackenzie Blackwell ’21 Mackenzie Blackwell ’21

Blackwell didn’t miss a beat immersing herself in these interests and seizing every opportunity available to her at F&M. She served as president of S.I.S.T.E.R.S. (Sophisticated Intelligent Sisters Teaching Excellence, Responsibility, and Success); was a student chair of F&M Votes; was a housing adviser and community adviser; studied abroad in Scotland; and was a member of the Junto Society, the Black Pyramid Senior Honor Society, the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, F&M ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the knitting club, and Squash ACES.

“Being able to lead clubs on campus has been really important to me and an experience I probably wouldn’t have gotten at a bigger school,” she said.

Participating in the ACLU in particular solidified Blackwell’s interests to pursue law.

“The organization helped me realize the power of the legal field,” she said.

Her interests in law span judicial activism, rights-oriented and constitutional law. No matter which path she takes, her goal is to help people.

“As a lawyer, you can give a voice to people who slip through the cracks,” she said.

Blackwell said she feels confident moving forward in her career with F&M on her resume, but remains cognizant that these opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without her endowed scholarships.

“I would not be able to be here without financial aid,” she said. “I’m so grateful to receive this education and have it accessible to someone like me."

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