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Mackenzie Leighton

BA Candidate - Social Justice and Arts Activism, minor in Creative Writing

Originally from Maine, Mackenzie chose Gallatin for its academic flexibility and because it offers the possibility for creative exploration. Her concentration in social justice and arts activism focuses on creative expression as a tool for empathy and empowerment.

During the fall of 2014, she took Piper Anderson’s course Lyrics on Lockdown. In it, she co-facilitated an arts workshop with 16- to 18 year-old young men who are incarcerated on Rikers Island. She went back to Rikers after the class ended to tutor the same age group for high school equivalency testing with the Petey Greene Program. This interest in community engagement led her to intern with the Administration for Children's Services, where she was able to help with events at elementary schools in Harlem through the Responsible Fatherhood Coalition. In the spring of 2016, a Silver Social Work class gave Mackenzie the privilege of fostering a relationship with a Holocaust survivor during weekly visits.  

Gallatin has provided Mackenzie with the resources for her academics and creativity to run side by side. She has designed two collections for Gallatin’s annual fashion show and has been an editor for The Gallatin Review for both the Prison Education Program and for poetry submissions. After taking Scott Hightower’s The Art and Craft of Poetry in the spring of 2015, she declared a minor in creative writing and proceeded to take the Writers in Paris poetry workshop during summer of 2016.

Mackenzie Leighton

Going to school at Gallatin has opened up so many new doors for me. I can study what I love, spend time with the most passionate and creative people, and be in New York City—all at the same time.