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Odyssey Spotlight: Mackenzie Phalen, Photos for a Cause
Mackenzie Phalen
For my Odyssey Project, I did two separate things that I connected into one project. In the beginning of the process, I went to Kanab, Utah, for two weeks. During my time there I spent eight days working at a sanctuary called Best Friends Animal Society. While I was there I volunteered twice a day, which consisted of different things to help all the animals that lived at the sanctuary.

During my time In Utah, I took photos whenever I had a chance. I then chose 24 out of 1,600 pictures I took while I was in Utah and had them printed off for a photo gallery I had on May 5. During the gallery, I had people bid on the photos, with the proceeds donated to Best Friends Animal Society.

Why did this focus interest you?
I have always had a passion for animals and wanted to make a difference in some way, and I also wanted to get more into photography and decided to combine my two interests to make one big project.

How does this project bookend your academic experience at the high school?
This project was unlike anything I could have experienced within the high school. It taught me to be more independent and the importance of being aware of time management. It also let me explore a part of the world I had never seen before, and was a hands-on experience that was unlike anything the school could have provided.

What is your next step after graduation?
I will be attending Ohio University, majoring in occupational therapy.
About the Senior Odyssey Project 
Seniors in the Community School at Upper Arlington High School engage in a full-time, self-designed independent study exploration known as the Odyssey Project. These quarter-long projects may involve career-related experiences, community service endeavors, opportunities to hone practical skills, participation in college programs, involvement in a research project or the pursuit of a creative endeavor. 
We welcome community ideas for our seniors. Please feel free to submit those ideas through this online form.