Mackenzie-Warwick portrait

Mackenzie Warwick honored with Distinguished Leadership Award from Michigan Engineering

The NERS PhD student has been an integral part of the department since her undergraduate studies and consistently showcases exemplary leadership qualities.

Mackenzie Warwick, a fourth-year PhD student in the Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences department, has been honored with the Distinguished Leadership Award by Michigan Engineering. This award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students within Michigan Engineering who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to the College, University, and community.

Mackenzie’s nomination for the award stemmed from her outstanding contributions and leadership both inside and outside the classroom. As an integral part of the department since her undergraduate studies, Mackenzie has consistently showcased exemplary leadership qualities.

Inside the classroom, Mackenzie served as an Undergraduate Instructional Aid for NERS 211 in Winter 2020 and as the Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) for the senior design cycle for academic years 2020–2021 and 2021–2022. Notably, her leadership as a GSI for NERS 491 and NERS 492 played a pivotal role in integrating new lecture content focused on social responsibility, safety, public health, and engineering ethics. Mackenzie’s dedication to nuclear education was also recognized with the 2023 Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs and the 2022 award for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors from Rackham.

Beyond the classroom, her commitment extends to the establishment of the Women in Nuclear (WIN) Chapter, recognized nationally for its positive influence on the department’s culture and mentoring avenues for students. Londrea Garrett, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in NERS, praises Mackenzie’s leadership: “What we believe truly makes Mackenzie a phenomenal leader is the passion she brings to all of these activities. When Mackenzie talks about nuclear, she has a contagious enthusiasm she’s been able to spread to so many others.”

Mackenzie actively contributes to the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Roxanne Walker, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in NERS, commends Mackenzie’s commitment, stating, “Through her countless hours of work put into our department, WIN, and the community she has proven herself to be worthy of any of the Engineering Graduate Student awards and someone who represents the ideals behind being the ‘Leaders and Best.’”

In 2022, Mackenzie supported the department when it hosted Nuclear Science Week, an international, broadly observed week-long celebration of all aspects of nuclear science. The event was attended by over 200 people in person and virtually.

At the College level, Mackenzie collaborates with Aerospace Engineering on the MARS Dialogues, showcasing her commitment to addressing macroethical responsibilities to society. The initiative recently received a North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Award in the Activism, Awareness, and Organization category.

Locally, Mackenzie has been a driving force behind initiatives such as the “Glow Blue” program and “Radiation is All Around Me.” These educational programs aim to expose underrepresented students to nuclear engineering early in their academic journeys. Her involvement in community engagements, including partnerships with Boy Scout troops and school visits, has positively impacted over 1,000 K–12 students. Mackenzie also participated in the Climate Coalition Campaign to prevent the premature closure of the Michigan Palisades nuclear power plant, where her role as a congressional outreach volunteer underscored her dedication to emphasizing the importance of nuclear energy in clean energy efforts. 

Mackenzie Warwick

Mackenzie’s influence also extends internationally, as she represented NERS at the Nuclear Innovator Cultivation Camp in Tokyo, Japan, where discussions centered on developing innovative technologies for the widespread implementation of nuclear energy. Selected as one of forty early career women in the nuclear sector, Mackenzie presented her research as part of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Rising Stars Programme. She was further invited to join a global working group for K–12 nuclear education development programs based on her impactful work.

Mackenzie’s commitment to personal growth is evident through her enrollment in the Rackham Professional Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate program. Her dedication to honing her communication and interpersonal skills led her to enroll in the CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate. Additionally, she is self-studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, showcasing her determination to enhance cross-cultural collaborations.

“Mackenzie’s enthusiasm and dedication for advancing the culture and science of nuclear engineering is not just remarkable—it’s infectious,” said Mackenzie’s faculty advisor, Prof. Kevin Field. “She brings an energy that elevates everyone around her and serves to inspire her peers and colleagues. The resounding peer and faculty nominations for Mackenzie attest to her contagious spirit and our collective excitement as she receives this prestigious leadership award.”  

NERS Chair Todd Allen, expresses, “Mackenzie Warwick is a rising star in education, outreach, and culture development for our department and the university. She is a Leader and Best, and we are pleased that the College has recognized her for years of dedication and leadership on and off campus with this award.”

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