Meet Student Employee Scholarship Recipient Mackenzie McMahon

Student employee, Mackenzie McMahon is standing outside with water and The Tower Bridge in London England behind her.

Mackenzie McMahon, a student employee at The Ohio State University Libraries, has been working in the Preservation and Digitization Department since September 2022. During her time, she had the unique opportunity to work on preserving her grandfather’s master’s thesis who was a student at Ohio State in the 1950s.

“As I started the preservation process, carefully handling the fragile pages of my grandfather's thesis, I felt a deep connection with my family history. Despite his passing when I was young, the experience provided me with a connection to him eighteen years later, bridging the generational gap through our shared passion for the study of history,” Mackenzie said.

While working on the preservation of these historical documents, Mackenzie shared that it helped her recognize the value of capturing the dedication and passion of authors and their work for future generations to access. She said, “It is fulfilling to know that through digitization, these works can gain a second life on databases, reaching broader audiences… There is a profound impact in preserving historical documents and the lasting legacy they represent.”

We interviewed Mackenzie as one 10 recipients of the 2024 University Libraries Student Employee Scholarship. Keep reading to learn more about her, her experience and her advice to future student employees.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Mackenzie McMahon, and I’m from Cleveland, Ohio! I’m a third-year majoring in history, and after I receive my bachelor’s degree, I plan to pursue law school.

What drew you to working with University Libraries as a Student Employee?

Since I was young, I was always captivated by the endless stories and possibilities within books. Working for University Libraries allows me to extend my childhood passions into a fulfilling campus job, opening my horizon to different careers and opportunities.

What’s something you’ve learned by working for University Libraries? 

Since I began scanning and checking master's theses in the autumn of 2022, I have come to appreciate that learning never stops. Each workday, I have the opportunity to delve into a diverse array of past research projects, ensuring future accessibility. Simply flipping through these pages, I realize the vastness of research and the continuous nature of scholarship. Working with these pieces of scholarship motivates me to continue striving for excellence in my own work.

How will this scholarship impact your time as a student at Ohio State?

During this upcoming academic school year, I want to complete a research thesis. This scholarship will alleviate financial burdens, giving me some freedom to focus more on research, my courses, and other extracurricular activities.

What would you say to other students who are considering working for University Libraries?

If you’re considering working for University Libraries, then you should definitely apply! Not only have I grown through my work, but I have gained multiple supportive mentors who guide and motivate me through my undergraduate pursuits.