(NewsNation Now) — A Rhodes Scholar lost her scholarship and may lose her Ivy League graduate degree after an investigation discovered that she might have lied her way to the top.
Mackenzie Fierceton said in her applications that she was the first generation to head off to college and that she grew up poor, with a history of abuse bouncing back and forth between foster homes.
She earned straight A’s and was accepted into grad school at the University of Pennsylvania. Eventually, she landed that Rhodes scholarship.
One anonymous tip later, authorities discovered that Fierceton actually went to a $30,000 a year private school in suburban St. Louis called the Whitfield School. Her mom was a radiologist and she even spent time riding horseback as a kid.
“The tutors who work with these kids, like the preparatory people, have said that the universities can’t possibly fact check everything that students are telling them in this personal essay that they write, so I think that’s how she got away with it,” Isabel Vincent, a columnist for the NY Post, said on “Banfield.”
Vincent has been covering this story. She said some parts of Fierceton’s story were true, including the part about spending time in a foster home after an alleged incident with her mother.
“I am sure she built on that truth and perhaps made it, you know, a lot worse than it was,” Vincent said, adding that Fierceton took herself out of the Rhodes scholarship after the allegations surfaced.
The columnist believes part of the reason this happened is because of application expectations.
“The common application that is used by, like, a million … universities in the United States, there’s a lot of emphasis on overcoming adversity,” Vincent said. “So students feel that they have to, you know, emphasize something that was negative in their lives.”
Vincent said Fierceton is now suing the university, alleging that this was a conspiracy against her.