Mackenzie Ortega

Rider Profile
HometownMonee, Illinois
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorCivil Engineering
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Hello! My name’s Mackenzie! I’m currently a junior studying Civil Engineering at UIUC. I’m from Monee, IL, where I attended Crete-Monee High School. My participation in band, Math Team, Scholastic Bowl, and Chess brought so many good memories and has influenced me to be as active as I can in my community. Outside of school, I adore Broadway musicals, as well as teaching myself (or attempting to) to play new instruments. Take a peek inside my room and you’ll see a ukulele, piano, trumpet, guitar, and violin! By no means can I play any of them as well as my clarinet, but it’s getting there (?). Today I’m a proud member of the Marching Illini and Engineers without Borders. I'm now so thankful for this chance to be a part of Illini 4000! Though I’ve only just joined, it’s already clear how much power this organization has, as well as how passionate the people on this team are. I’m beyond excited for the months to come, especially for the new experiences and friends on the way!

Personal Statement

Cancer has affected members of both sides of my family. I’m most certainly not alone in that aspect and that’s why being a part of Illini 4000 is important to me. My attention was immediately caught when I first heard about this organization’s Portraits Project. It’s an amazing resource that provides support for those affected by cancer, and it also serves as a window into many of those individuals' lives and hardships. It’s inspiring to me the levels of perseverance and hope they exude, and I can only imagine how much strength it takes to do so. Every person has a meaningful story to tell, and every one of those stories deserves to be told. By being a part of this group, I hope to contribute to the fight against cancer in any way I can, as well as making sure everyone is heard.