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APSU math student wins prestigious Drane Award for service and leadership

Mackenzie Carr
Mackenzie Carr with the Drane.

(Posted on Thursday, May 4, 2023)

Mackenzie Carr, a senior in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Austin Peay State University, has won the university’s prestigious Drane Award – given by faculty to an outstanding member of the graduating class.

The award honors character, scholarship, leadership and service to the university. Carr was selected for the award by a panel of faculty members, who recognized her exemplary achievements and contributions to the university community.

Carr, who is graduating on May 5 with a degree in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science, has been a dedicated member of the Austin Peay community for four years. She has served in various leadership positions, including president of the Student Organization Council, vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa, vice president and membership outreach chair of the National Society of Leadership and Success and community outreach chair for the Honors and PELP Student Advisory Council.

“Throughout my life, I have made it my mission to serve others whenever possible,” she said. “I have served this university because I truly care about the people it encompasses and want to see it thrive well beyond my lifetime. Winning the Drane Award means so much more to me than just notoriety; it means that I have made a difference in the lives of myself, others and the university.”

‘Volunteering opened my eyes’

Carr’s dedication to serving others is clear in the essay she submitted as part of the Drane Award application. In her essay, Carr writes about her experiences volunteering with the Food Pantry and the impact it had on her life.

“Volunteering at the food pantry opened my eyes to the reality that food insecurity is not just a problem that exists in far-off places,” Carr wrote. “It is a problem that affects our community, our neighbors, and even our fellow students. I was shocked to learn that one in four Austin Peay students experiences food insecurity.”

Carr goes on to describe how volunteering at the food pantry allowed her to meet and interact with people from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. She writes about how these experiences taught her the importance of empathy and compassion and shaped her into the person she is today.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others and to learn from them,” Carr wrote. “I have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of community, and I will carry this knowledge with me for the rest of my life.”

Since then, she has orchestrated a drive for the victims of the war in Ukraine, sending 20 families care packages with necessities. Currently, she is hosting a school supply drive for students in need in Jamaica in collaboration with several of her organizations.

“Both of these drives are serving other communities and also spreading the spirit of Austin Peay internationally – two things I am extremely passionate about,” she wrote in her essay.

‘They’re rooting for my future’

Carr also recently won the mathematics department’s Nell Rayburn High Impact Practice (HIP) Award. The award recognizes a student who has made significant contributions to their field of study through high-impact experiences, such as internships or research projects.

“Receiving the Nell Rayburn HIP Award is so meaningful to me because it shows me that my professors noticed my hard work and dedication all along and are rooting for my future success as well,” she said.

Carr’s dedication to her field of study is clear in her achievements. She has completed multiple internships in the actuarial field, passed a series of complex exams, and received recognition for her outstanding academic performance.

In her essay for the Drane Award, Carr wrote about the importance of mentorship in her academic and professional journey. She credited her success to the guidance of her professors, who helped her navigate the challenges of her field and encouraged her to pursue her goals.

Carr also won the Student Government Association’s Madame Governor award, which recognizes outstanding service and achievement as an undergraduate student.

‘Make a difference’

Carr’s commitment to serving others is not limited to her time at Austin Peay. She has already secured a job as an actuarial analyst for Aetna, a CVS Health Company, in Atlanta, Georgia, where she hopes to continue making a positive impact.

Carr’s accomplishments at Austin Peay are a testament to her dedication, hard work and compassion. Her achievements have not only earned her the Drane Award but have also inspired others to follow her.

“I am honored to receive the Drane Award and to be recognized for my contributions to the university,” Carr said. “But more importantly, I hope that my experiences inspire others to get involved and make a difference in their communities.

“Austin Peay will always have a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the university and its community.”

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