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Interlochen Online student selected as 2023 Davidson Fellow

Creative writer Mackenzie Duan received a $10,000 literature award from one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship programs.

Mackenzie Duan

Interlochen Online student and 2023 Davidson Fellow Mackenzie Duan.

Interlochen Online creative writing student Mackenzie Duan (IO 22-23) was one of the 21 young scholars selected as 2023 Davidson Fellows.

Recognized by Forbes as "one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships," the Davidson Fellows Scholarships recognize gifted and high-achieving students ages 18 and under who have completed a significant piece of work. Applicants submit projects in a variety of categories—including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, philosophy, and outside-the-box—for consideration for $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships. The 2023 Fellows will also be honored at an awards ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 9.

Duan, 17, received a $10,000 scholarship in the program’s literature category for her portfolio, Circles: The Irresolution of Repetition. Duan’s hybrid portfolio includes selections of poetry, prose, and screenplay that examine the unresolved friction of language and memory moving in circular patterns, with an emphasis on alternative futurities, Chinese-American histories, and the act of translation.

“To me, being a Davidson Fellow represents, broadly, the degree of devotion that you have towards others and the world,” Duan said on her Davidson Fellow bio page. “I am incredibly grateful to be included in this year’s cohort among such extraordinary people."

Duan, who takes private creative writing lessons through Interlochen Online, worked closely with Instructor of Creative Writing Megan Baxter to complete her portfolio.

“Mackenzie came to our private lessons with a clear sense of purpose,” Baxter said. “Over the course of our time together she refined her work and presented sections of her Davidson Fellows Scholarship manuscript for critical review and revision. MacKenzie's manuscript adds a new voice to the ongoing conversation about belonging. I see her collection serving as an inspiration for other young authors and readers who want to engage in a fresh take on identity, culture, and politics but who also value beauty, strong writing, and well-told stories. I think her work, applied through publication and reading, will serve as an invitation for a new generation of young Americans to reimagine how they see themselves as individuals, as descendants, and as creatives. It was a joy to serve as her mentor on this project, and I know that we'll be seeing her name in print often.”

“I am so happy for Mackenzie and all that she accomplished with Circles: The Irresolution of Repetition,” said Carin Nuernberg, Executive Director of Interlochen Online and Continuing Education. “It is a wonderful testament to the power of connecting inspired students from around the world with the world-class faculty and educational experiences that Interlochen Online provides.”