Mackenzie Coleman
Dominican University
PACCAR Foundation Scholarship

Mackenzie Coleman has a plan for her degree program, and Dominican University was a good fit. Coleman, from St. Louis, wanted to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology. Dominican offers students a chance to earn both degrees in five years. For Coleman, it would also make it possible to earn a doctoral degree in a shorter time frame, if she chooses. That option, plus Dominican’s closeness to Chicago and other factors led her to enroll at the River Forest, Illinois campus. A sophomore, she majors in sociology and Black World Studies, with a minor in social justice and civic engagement. She is the oldest of four children, with three younger brothers.

Coleman has long been interested in social justice and social change. Those interests grew as the Black Lives Matter movement gained renewed attention in 2020. “It really made me think about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to make that impact,” she said. Sociology, Coleman said, seemed like the right major for thinking about significant impact on large numbers of people. She also developed an interest in Black World Studies through a club with the same name. “I decided if I’m really interested in learning about my culture and how I can make positive, impactful change, I wanted to go full force and go with the major,” Coleman said.

As for career plans, Coleman wants to work in a school system, helping minority students with accessibility to private schools, and helping ensure their success with tutoring, for example.

As students were enrolling for the 2021 spring semester, things changed for Coleman’s family. Her father became unemployed and her mother was changing careers. Victoria Spivak, assistant vice president, Enrollment Student Services, connected Coleman to the PACCAR Foundation Scholarship through ACI. “The scholarship helped me register for the next semester. Being able to continue going to school here was honestly, a huge factor with that one. It changed a lot for me, so I’m really appreciative for it,” she said.

Coleman is grateful the PACCAR Foundation made the scholarship possible. “A thousand dollars to some people is not a lot, but for me, it made such a huge difference,” Coleman said. “I think the donation is so generous for students like me. We have a path that we want to go on and … things happen. It can really change the course that we had envisioned.”

Coleman has earned other scholarships, including a significant scholarship awarded this past summer from the university that helps pay a big piece of her tuition costs, she said, thanks to Mark Carbonara, director of advising and first-year experience advising and student development.

On campus, Coleman is part of The Village, a Black student leadership organization at Dominican and she remains a member of the Black World Studies Club. She is a student worker in the athletic department. Finally, Coleman is a shooting guard on the Dominican women’s basketball team, continuing a sport she played all four years of high school.

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