- Class of 2018
- Major Political Science
McKenzie, who grew up in Georgia, began swimming as a form of aquatic therapy when she was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) as a child; she started swimming competitively at age 5. She has been a member of the Greyhound's swimming and diving team for four years. As a member of the USA Paralympic Swim Team, she is ranked first in the world in the 50, 100, 400, and 1500M freestyle events. McKenzie competed in the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and most recently in the 2016 Games in Rio, where she claimed three gold medals for the 50, 100, and 400M freestyle races and silver for the 4x100M freestyle relay. After graduation, McKenzie will begin work at Loyola within the office of student development and with Loyola's disability support services office. "I am so excited for this opportunity to contribute something to the Loyola campus and community, as it has given me so much as a student," says McKenzie. "I cannot wait to start this new chapter of my Loyola journey." In the fall, McKenzie will set her sights on training for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo under the coaching of Brian Loeffler, '91, her swim coach at Loyola. McKenzie's future plans are to attend law school; she is passionate about matters of social justice, particularly in disability rights and advocacy, and hopes to one day run for public office.
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I could name about 20 different people at Loyola who have made a huge impact on me—not only as a student, but as a human being. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had the incredible guidance of my professors, my coaches, and the faculty. The connections I have made on this campus will stick with me for the rest of my life.