(Excerpted from the OKC.Biz website)
Danielle McKenzie, age 32, Assistant Director of Finance, Administration, and Personnel, University of Oklahoma Advanced Programs
Danielle delivers graduate degree education to military service members and their families across the world and to nontraditional learners in the community. Employing her sharp organizational and clear communication skills, Danielle keeps the Advanced Programs on track at the University of Oklahoma. It’s easy to see why Danielle, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a minor in business and a master’s degree in public administration keeps this program on track. Managing a large technology upgrade project to advance the information management system, Danielle is looking forward to the innovative addition to serving students. Investing in her community, Danielle is also the commissioner of the City of Moore Planning Commission, where she strives to make city government more accessible to the younger generation, encouraging involvement from the under-40 demographic.
What do you most love about living in Oklahoma City? The Thunder and University of Oklahoma football! It’s incredible the number of sporting events, festivals and block parties that take place each weekend.
What was the “magic moment” in your life when you decided to do what you do and stay here in Oklahoma? I was born in Oklahoma City. My plan was to go to college and then move far away. I wouldn’t call it a magic moment; I realized that there are ways to touch people and build a life here in Oklahoma City. As the first woman in my family to complete a bachelor’s degree, I have a deep appreciation of the benefits and power of education. Working at a university, I get to be part of one of the most memorable times in a person’s life: college.
What’s the one thing you’d like to see happen in Oklahoma City in the next three years? I would love to see a better system for public transportation in the coming years, whether it is an accessible rail system or safer bicycling, for Oklahoma City and our suburbs.
What’s one piece of advice you would give 20-year-old you? It’s the same thing I tell my son: Attitude and effort can either make your talent seem meaningful or meaningless. It doesn’t matter if it’s a job, sports or school — your attitude and effort are always relevant.
What aspect of your line of work do you believe makes the biggest impact in our community? In OU Advanced Programs, we serve nontraditional graduate students. With many of our sites located on military bases, we have the unique opportunity to also serve our servicemen and servicewomen with an outstanding and affordable graduate education. That is pretty life-changing.