Briar Cliff University announced on Tuesday the recipient of the 2020 GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) is Mackenzie Lien.
The GOLD Alumni Award is presented each year to a Briar Cliff alumnus who demonstrates a commitment to living the Franciscan ideals of service, caring and openness to all; has shown exceptional accomplishments in academic or professional pursuits; demonstrates continued engagement and stewardship with the Briar Cliff University community; and who has graduated with an undergraduate or graduate degree from Briar Cliff University between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019.
Lien received her Bachelor of Arts from Briar Cliff University in 2018 with a major in elementary education. She was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2018 and was assigned to the Republic of Madagascar to serve as an English Educator. In addition, she taught English with the YMCA English Clubs, tutored math for SAT preparation, assisted and taught at the ASMAF women’s organization, and led training for 50 teachers. Lien has completed the TEFL teaching certificate.
Lien was assigned to Moramanga, a town in the Alaotra-Mangoro Region. Although French is the official language, the people of Moramanga predominantly used their first language, Malagasy (Bezanozano), for daily life. Lien has earned lifetime eligibility for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate school fellowship program.
“Mackenzie is such an inspiration of courage and willingness to learn new things. She is one of the most caring, patient and understanding people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said peers as through their nomination for Lien. “After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and went to teach English to children of all ages. She made an incredible impact on her students' lives and those in the village.”
Briar Cliff Alumni Awards are typically recognized during the annual Briar Cliff Toast to the Tassel, where graduates are celebrated and welcomed to the alumni community. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Briar Cliff Toast to the Tassel in person event moved to a virtual celebration.