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  • Linda Palmer

Part VII: Mackenzie Fierceton Discusses Reshuffled

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Part VII

What really struck me just reading through the preview of Reshuffled was the voice of the youth actually being at the center of each story. It is a rare opportunity especially for those who have been marginalized or disenfranchised, or for a smaller population that most people just don’t know about. It is so powerful to give those involved in the system, in whatever capacity, the chance to be heard and to tell their stories in a way that gives them agency over how they tell it and what they share. I think it is tremendously helpful for youth who are in it to see that they are not the only ones who have gone through this and be able to identify with those experiences.

These are not happy-go-lucky, easy stories of graduating high school and living happily ever after. But, we get to see that there are people who survive and get to live lives that they want and live them how they want. It is not something you have an opportunity to do when you are going through it because you feel like you have no say and no choice over what’s happening.

Another thing I found touching was how empowering it is that each person got to tell their own story. The contributors to Reshuffled may have a sense of awe that they have shared their experiences and it is in a book! It is pretty cool to be able to share your story with the world alongside other people who share similar experiences. I can also see how it is empowering to realize that your story and your experience matters, and people care about what you have to say.


Mackenzie Fierceton earned a 3-year scholarship to study social policy at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and will begin her studies in the fall of 2021. She will conduct research on the foster care-to-prison pipeline, representing a disproportionate risk of incarceration for young people with foster care involvement. Her research will analyze how welfare provisions and social policy in the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway affect the incarceration rates of children in foster care.

She also serves as an ambassador for Child USA which is a think tank that engages in high-level legal, social science, and medical research and analysis to derive the best public policies to end child abuse and neglect in America. CHILD USA produces evidence-based solutions and information needed by policymakers, organizations, media, and society as a whole to increase child protection and the common good.

The authors of Reshuffled are honored and grateful that she also supports their efforts to put words of hope and resilience in the hands of the youth in foster care today.

UPDATE FEB 2022: MacKenzie Fierceton withdrew her candidacy for the Rhodes Scholarship. The New Yorker recently published an in-depth look at the events that led MacKenzie to withdraw. You can find the article here: How an Ivy League School Turned Against a Student | The New Yorker

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