Isaac appointed Rhodes Scholar 2022
The University of Notre Dame alumnus MacKenzie Isaac will study at the University of Oxford in England next year as a member of the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2022. She is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 826 applicants this year, and is the 21st Rhodes Scholar of Notre Dame overall and fourth over the past five years.
Isaac worked closely with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) to apply for the award. CUSE promotes the intellectual development of Notre Dame students through academic engagement, research, creative endeavor, and scholarship research.
She is originally from Indianapolis and graduated from Notre Dame in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Isaac obtained a minor in Data Science and Latin Studies. She has been a Kellogg International Fellow, Building Bridges Mentee, Edward W. Devine Merit Scholar, and Truman Fellowship candidate. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Health Education at Columbia University Teachers College in New York. She was also a Rhodes finalist last year. Isaac is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
As a student and scholar, and as a black woman, Isaac is interested in health equity. In particular, she is interested in factors such as racism and discrimination that contribute to chronic disease in communities of color, and in promoting the holistic well-being of people of color through the creation, delivery and evaluation health education programs that take into account the importance of cultural competence and social justice.
As a Kellogg Fellow, Isaac documented the evolution of emigration and the political response to natural disasters in Haiti with Karen Richman, professor of practice and director of undergraduate studies at the Institute for Latino Studies. She was also a Research Assistant to Kim Rollings, former Assistant Professor of Architecture, in the Architecture, Health and Sustainability Research Group at the School of Architecture, Research Assistant and Community Liaison Assistant. with the Diabetes Impact Project-Indianapolis Neighborhoods (DIP-IN) at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University and as an Associate Research Student in the FACETS Program at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Active in service and leadership, Isaac has served as director of diversity and inclusion for the Notre Dame student government and a senior multicultural member of Lyons Hall Council. She has been a Seminar Co-facilitator with the Center for Social Concerns, Member and Secretary of the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, Peer Lawyer and Undergraduate Programming Assistant with the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, and Ministry Student Coordinator Africana with Our Lady Campus Ministry.
As part of her work with the student government, Isaac was the only student on the Walk the Walk organizing committee and lead organizer of Race Relations Week. She initiated a series of discussions on identity and mental health stigma as an extension of her peer advocacy with the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being. Additionally, she was a member of the board of directors of the Notre Dame Diversity Council, was a member of the vice-chair of the student affairs advisory committee on student climate related to race and ethnicity, and played a role. determining in the approach of the subjects of cultural competence, sensitivity and equity within the Student Advisory Council of Moreau.
Through his close partnership with multicultural student programs and services, Isaac has contributed to the development of miNDful, a series of culturally competent workshops specially designed for residences and other residential, spiritual and academic communities on campus.
In addition to her studies at Columbia, Isaac currently oversees projects at the intersection of urban planning, community organizing and health promotion at Health by Design, where she previously worked as an apprentice. She is also the Director of Volunteer Engagement with Omena Madagascar, where she helps create a psychological violence prevention program for the global network of peer educator organization for youth and young adults. ; as a member of the north-eastern district steering committee with DIP-IN; and as a program instructor and outreach ambassador for the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis.
As a Rhodes Scholar, Isaac plans to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Population Health. In the long term, she hopes to work in the area of community health education, championing programs and curricula that thoughtfully capture community narratives and resolutely place marginalized narratives the center of attention, with the ultimate goal of health care justice.
Notre Dame seniors Patrick Aimone, Jack Boland, Devin Diggs and Greg Miller were also selected as finalists for the 2022 class.