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Social Work Student Mackenzie Moss Recognized as Top Ten Scholar

This Monday, April 16, Alumni Relations will recognize Mackenzie Moss, a student in School of Social Work bachelor’s program, as a recipient of the Top Ten Scholar award—one of the highest honors a Boise State student can achieve.

Mackenzie Moss

“I feel really happy and grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had,” Moss said.

Top Ten Scholars are expected to show success in academics, service, and research—Moss has shown this success and more, and shined particularly in the ‘research’ category during her time on the speech and debate team.

“Being on the speech and debate team kind of makes you a researcher,” she said, adding that she spends between 15 and 20 hours each week conducting research.

Much of Moss’s research was in applying areas of communication theory to various social phenomenon, but she also conducted research on undocumented immigrants and food insecurity, which she said fit well with her social work studies.

“I do feel like that was an area of interest I’ve explored through the social work program,” Moss said.

Dr. Manda Hicks, who works as the Director of Forensics and is also Moss’s speech and debate coach, said she was impressed by Moss’s skills and ambitions as a student, and her ability to balance social work with her speech and debate activities.

“Saying I’ve watched her grow doesn’t really get at what Mackenzie’s accomplished,” Hicks said. “What’s special is that she’s a person who came to Boise State with a lot of really altruistic goals for herself, that she’s stuck with.”

Hicks will introduce Moss and give a short speech at the award ceremony, before Moss gives her acceptance speech. Moss plans to use the opportunity to thank the members of the speech and debate team, the faculty, and her family, and to talk about her future goal of becoming an immigration attorney.

“Becoming a lawyer has been a goal since high school,” Moss said. “I thought maybe social work would be a good stepping stone, as both my mom and dad are social workers.”

Social Work students pose around a trophy

Other future goals for Moss—obtaining her master’s degree in social work, and possibly becoming a policy analyst. She thinks macro social work could be a good area to specialize in, given her skills and interests, and since there are not many social workers active in that capacity.

The Top Ten Scholars Awards will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Stueckle Sky Center on the Boise State campus. Registration for the event can be found at

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