Faces of UMSI: MacKenzie DeWitt

The fact that MacKenzie DeWitt is on the MSI track is proof that UMSI master’s students have diverse backgrounds and goals. The school isn’t just for computer science majors. In fact, MacKenzie was pre-law in her undergraduate career. Her major at U-M was political science with a law justice/social change focus. She took one information class before graduating and was hooked.

“I decided not to follow the pre-law path because I realized how static it is,” she recalls. “The law doesn’t really change that much, whereas technology is exciting. It’s continually evolving with new methods, spaces, interfaces, and more every day.”

She is happy with the path she’s following now. She thinks that having agency over your education is what makes the MSI program stand out above others.

“What I have liked most about the MSI is the power we have to take ownership of things. There is so much potential for getting involved. There are entrepreneur and mentorship programs we can be a part of. There’s Innovation Trek.  There’s ASB. I considered some other programs but I realized I didn’t want a one-year crash course. I wanted the immersive experience.”

MacKenzie has had lots of opportunities to get involved due to her affiliation with student groups. As vice president of SIMA, she and her group met with the Dean, and the position has given her a lot of insight into the student body. With SOCHI, she had a pivotal role in bringing World IA Day to the school.

“My experience with SOCHI has been incredible,” she says. “I helped put together WIAD and it was a huge undertaking. We brought in unique speakers, we connected people with the community, and we raised the necessary funds to pull it off. I’m very proud of that accomplishment.”

In addition to the opportunities the school offers, MacKenzie has also come to love the relationships she’s developed. Whether they’re faculty or other students, she recognizes that many talented people are partnered with UMSI.

“The more people I meet, the more I learn about their unique backgrounds, I’m just so impressed. My cohort is so dynamic. Even my professors have been great. I believe they want to go beyond lecturing and genuinely help the students become the best professionals they can be.”

She’s enjoyed the sense of collegiality in her classes and hopes to find a similar situation in a future job.

“I’d like to work on a big team with a big organization so I can be creative and I can have responsibility for my own projects. If the work can have positive social implications, I’m all for that as well.”

When MacKenzie’s not studying or thinking about the future, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

“My parents are amazing. I’m fortunate I’ve had such supportive people in my corner. They passed down their tireless work ethic, and I love that now we can treat each other as equals.”