Waco, TX- The National Collegiate Equestrian Association has announced its January Signature Academics Standout Student-Athlete of the Month. Every month the NCEA recognizes student-athletes for their accomplishments in the ring, however the NCEA would like to highlight athletes on their outstanding performances out of the ring, including academics, philanthropy, outstanding attitude, and embodiment of an ideal teammate.
Name of Athlete: Mackenzie Michaels
School & Year: Auburn, Junior
Hometown & Major: Orlando, Fla. / Animal Sciences-Equine
- Multiple exhibition wins in Equitation on the Flat for Auburn
- SEC Academic Honor Roll
- NCEA Academic Honor Roll
- Chi Alpha Sigma member
- Michaels used her short break between the spring and summer semesters in 2017 to bring smiles to kids in Mexico. Studying equine science with a minor in public health and agricultural business, Michaels’ trip to Mexico didn’t involve horses, but instead working to change the lives of 55 kids. Joined by her father, the Orlando, Fla., product traveled with Sharing Smiles, an organization dedicated to helping children living with cleft lips and cleft palates. Teamed with five surgeons, two anesthesiologists, five nurses and 20 volunteers, Michaels spent five days in the town of Merida screening and prepping patients for surgery, updating parents on surgery progress, and even scrubbing in on surgeries.
- Volunteers at Storybrook Farms - a facility in neighboring Opelika, Ala., that provides equine assisted activities for children and young adults facing physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
- Also volunteers at the Lee County Humane Society.
"Mackenzie’s academics speak for themselves except maybe for the fact that she handles them with her own internal motivation readily. Her community service, however, is just amazing. Mackenzie not only works to better local communities but has done extensive work internationally as well. In addition to the volunteer work she does on her own, she is one of the first to raise her hand to help out when a request comes to the team" said Auburn Head Coach, Greg Williams.