The Whittington Scholarship is a prestigious award given to a second-year McCourt student who excels academically and displays a strong commitment to serving their community. Founded in 2014, the scholarship celebrates the memory of then-GPPI Associate Dean and Professor Leslie Whittington who, along with her husband and two children, died on September 11, 2001.
A transformational gift that alleviates financial burden
The 2021-2022 Whittington Scholarship was awarded to Mackenzie Loy (MPP/MBA’22), a graduate of Tufts University with a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science. Loy appreciates the lasting impact Leslie Whittington has had on the McCourt community. “The scholarship is such a wonderful way to continue to remember her, and the many students, staff and faculty whose lives she impacted while a professor and through today.”
“I worked the first two years of graduate school, mostly to fund my degree,” said Loy. “This scholarship has allowed me to build a reserve so that when I graduate, I can pursue the dream I wrote about in my grad school application — start a social enterprise to tackle big societal problems.”
Prior to attending Georgetown, Loy worked in the tech sector for almost seven years. “I wanted to change the world without as many degrees of separation,” she said. “Many students come to the McCourt School for the quantitative rigor and proximity to policy practitioners, but above all, to do good.”
An inclusive leader turning her passion into action
The opportunity to pursue a dual-degree in Public Policy and Business Administration is ultimately what influenced her decision to attend Georgetown. “In my first week on campus, I had found my people,” said Loy. “Everyone was so passionate and impact-oriented.”
Like many McCourt students, Loy wanted to start working on-the-ground in her new local community. Through her involvement with the McCourt Policy Innovation Lab, she has not only developed a deeper understanding of DC and its diverse populations but has also built relationships and strategic partnerships with local organizations and community members in Wards 7 & 8.
“Everything I do is both mission- and community-driven,” said Loy. “My involvement with the Lab has allowed me to be vulnerable in my understanding of policy making, and I’ve built deep relationships with my fellow students. The Lab has truly defined my time at the McCourt School.”
Today, as projects co-director, she helps define the scope of the five project teams and foster leadership development across all Lab members.
Margaret O’Bryon, former executive director of the Lab, has been influential in Loy’s McCourt experience. “She is amazing,” said Loy, “and really showed me how to build community around deep-rooted relationships. This year, I’m very excited to begin working with Professor Tyler. She is going to help us have an even bigger impact and continue to bring our work to the entire McCourt community.”
In her final year at Georgetown, Loy’s goal is to launch her social enterprise, homemade in DC. Her mission is to empower women and people of color through food entrepreneurship, an established way for many women and immigrants to enter entrepreneurship. By connecting DC-based food businesses with local food entrepreneurs, Loy seeks to develop local supply chains that build and retain wealth within the DMV.
In addition to homemade in DC, she is also developing an equity crowdfunding platform, Try-Impact. Loy aspires to connect underrepresented founders and mission driven start-ups to purpose-driven investors, and will focus her graduate thesis on this topic.