Mackenzie Berry, a former member of the UW-Madison First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Program, has been awarded a top national fellowship to continue her studies.
Berry was one of six people nationally that The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Phi recently named as recipients of its prestigious 2019 Marcus L. Urann Fellowships, which are worth $20,000.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Berry earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in May in English and creative writing, with a certificate in Afro-American studies. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in race, media and social justice at Goldsmiths, University of London.
“I definitely want to be a writer and a poet and, in addition to that, do organizing work, whether that’s paid or unpaid labor,” Berry told UW News. “I want to have the critical understanding to be ethical, strategic and effective on the grassroots level.”
At UW-Madison, Berry was a scholar in the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Program, the first university program in the country centered on urban arts, spoken word and hip-hop culture.
“First Wave is pretty much the reason I came to UW-Madison,” Berry told UW News. “I’m so grateful for the experiences it gave me, the people I met because of it, and the framing I learned through it. The university as a whole provided me with so many resources to do independent projects. I’ll always be appreciative of that.”
“Many people have poured into me and invested in me on my journey, from coaches to teachers to people I met at the bus stop,” Berry adds. “For that, I’m immensely grateful.”