Smith Cures AIDs and Wins MacAurthur Genius Grant
“Who would have thought a girl from Michigan could win a prize like this?” Mackenzie Smith, 34, from Michigan never thought such a prestigious award would one day belong to her. Mackenzie Toth grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mackenzie had an ordinary family growing up, with both parents and an older brother, going to church on Sunday, playing many sports. Her family was very religious but not to the point where they sheltered her, she told us “My parents did a perfect job raising me; I give them so much credit. They gave me a perfect balance of life, and helped to shape the person I am today.” Mackenzie was never considered a “genius” or very smart really. Mackenzie grew up with dyslexia; everything was more challenging for her. Math, science, and especially reading were tough. She had a rough time dealing with her dyslexia, and she always felt unintelligent and inferior to everybody.
Although Mackenzie always had the best education growing up, she didn’t always take full advantage of it. “Being in private school all my life helped me manage work well, and helped me with my learning disability. It all helped me later in life, but I was young and took for granted my great opportunities.” said the 34 year old. Her elementary and middle school years were spent at a small Lutheran school. For high school, she followed in her brothers footsteps and went to a prestigious boarding school. Mackenzie had all the tools and materials she needed to overcome her dyslexia and become a so called “genius”. She graduated from high school in the year 2015. After high school, Mackenzie went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, where she met and married a man named David Smith, and changed her name to Mackenzie Smith. Also While at UC Berkeley, she decided she would get Ph.D. in public health, which would help her research later in her career. While she was at UC Berkeley, she sparked up a fascination for...
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