Embracing Ut Prosim through love, dignity, and respect

Mackenzie Lewis. Photo credit: Christina Franusich
Mackenzie Lewis. Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Mackenzie Lewis’ nominator is someone who’s known her since birth. Her nominator wrote, “Mackenzie wholeheartedly believes that it’s our moral obligation as humans to help each other and give back to our communities in times of need. I’m in awe of the lives she’s touched and the impact she has made. I think of the joy she’s brought to athletes with disabilities or children experiencing homelessness, blowing out the candles on their very first birthday cake. It’s remarkable to see her interact with those individuals. She treats them all with overwhelming love, dignity, and respect.”

Mackenzie believes education is a core component of sustainable service to others. “We should all practice understanding the service we are doing and why,” she said. The highlight of her Virginia Tech experience was co-leading a trip through her service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, to her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, following Hurricane Florence. She and other volunteers raised more than $1,000 for the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund and assisted Habitat for Humanity in repairing damaged homes.

In addition to being Alpha Phi Omega’s president and former vice president of fellowship, Mackenzie serves the local community in myriad ways, both on and off campus. She participates in the Grizzle Project, which supports an alumna and her entire Army company stationed in Kuwait. She mentors preschool students in Giles County. She volunteers at the Humane Society’s animal shelter in Christiansburg. And she makes Campus Kitchen deliveries to local food banks with VT Engage.

A year ago, Mackenzie co-founded the Quality of Life Plus Club at Virginia Tech, which seeks to help individuals with disabilities lead more rewarding lives. Her nominator wrote, “They have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for injured veterans and first responders in the Blacksburg area.”

Mackenzie is a senior studying human development and family science, with minors in medicine and society and sociology. She’s made the Dean’s List and is a recipient of the Julian Burruss and University Scholars scholarship, as well as the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Charlotte Chapter scholarship.

After graduating next month, Mackenzie will return to Charlotte to work as a medical technician and life skills trainer at the NeuroRestorative Center, which serves individuals with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. She plans to pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy.

Her nominator wrote, “Mackenzie has a servant’s heart and has dedicated her life to making a difference in her school and community. That’s why she chose Virginia Tech—you had her at Ut Prosim!