Monmouth College senior profile: Mackenzie Holmes
Iowa City is next stop for star student, lacrosse player from Clive, Iowa, who will pursue a law degree
Monmouth, Ill. (03/29/2023) — Four years after being recruited to play lacrosse at Monmouth College, Mackenzie Holmes '23 became a sought-after law school student.
There wasn't a major press conference announcing the news, but Holmes will be taking her talents to the University of Iowa College of Law this fall.
"It took a long time to decide," said Holmes, who plans to focus on business law. "Iowa's a very, very good school. It's regularly in the top 30 in the nation for law schools. I had some full-ride offers elsewhere, and it was hard to turn them down."
Many of the law school students Monmouth produces emerge from the political science major, but Holmes took a different path, majoring in accounting and business, while minoring in economics.
"I found accounting right when I got here," said Holmes. "I took an accounting class my last semester in high school, and I thought, 'I could do that.'"
Her plans changed well into her Monmouth career.
"It was not very long ago, literally last year," she said of choosing law school. "I realized, 'I don't really want to be an accountant anymore.' Law was always in the back of my mind. A few of my friends told me it was just a phase, but now I've taken the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) twice."
Making a change that late in the game requires some assistance, and Holmes said political science professor Andre Audette and Marnie Dugan, who directs the College's Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership and Fellowships, provided it.
"I emailed Andre and asked for his help," said Holmes, who is known as "Mac" to many around campus.
One of the first actions Audette had her take last fall was participating in the College's annual moot court competition.
"I had no idea what I was walking into, but moot court was a fantastic experience and very beneficial to me," she said.
Holmes said she was "decently proud" of reaching the finals in her first attempt. She can also be proud of making the Dean's List every semester at Monmouth and receiving the business department's prestigious $10,000 Tom Johnson Scholarship, funded by the Edward Arthur Mellinger Educational Foundation.
Studying business with professor Dick Johnston will also smooth her transition to law school, she said.
"I've had some classes with Dicky J, and he 'cold calls' a lot in his classes, which is also something they do in law school," she said.
As for Dugan, Holmes said, "I go to Marnie's office about every other week and say, 'Marnie, help!'"
"Mac is not only academically gifted, she is mature, professional and has just got a really good head on her shoulders," said Dugan. "She's one of the top students in her department and is very well-rounded in a number of ways."
What Monmouth taught her
Holmes said she believes her liberal arts education will serve her well when she heads to Iowa City.
"I was just talking about that the other day," said Holmes. "It's the well-rounded aspect of the education we get here. A lot of the courses have improved my communication skills and my writing skills that I would not have developed as well with just an accounting focus elsewhere. I've taken courses in a lot of different disciplines - public health, random science classes, political science."
Through her membership in Kappa Kappa Gamma, she's also been exposed to women's studies through communication studies professor Trudi Peterson, who regularly visits with her chapter. Other areas her Kappa participation has brought to her attention are mental health and philanthropy.
"There's a lot of different opportunities that you don't even realize, things that I didn't even know existed," said Holmes of her Monmouth experience. "For example, I wish I would've known about moot court sooner. A lot of the schools I talked to during the law school application process were surprised that I'd had that moot court opportunity as an undergraduate."
One thing Holmes did know that Monmouth offered was her favorite sport, which influenced her decision to attend.
"I came to Monmouth for lacrosse," she said. "I was recruited by the old coach. There aren't many lacrosse programs in the Midwest. It came down to two schools, Monmouth and Wartburg. I just really liked the atmosphere here."
Holmes netted 10 goals her sophomore season and is the team's second-leading scorer this year.
There are still Fighting Scot contests to play, courses to complete and a Wallace Hall stage to traverse to receive her diploma, but Holmes was asked to look well past that and envision where she'd be in five years.
"I've been thinking a lot about that," she replied. "Maybe work at a firm? Maybe serve as general counsel for a company? What I've been told is that law school tells you where you want to go, not the other way around."