Kenzie Whiting

Warrington student turns lemons into lemonade, named UF Outstanding Scholar

Marketing senior Kenzie Whiting (BSBA ’20) is among the university-wide recipients of the University of Florida Outstanding Scholar Award from the UF Alumni Association and UF Honors Program for her exemplary scholarship during her time as a student.

The Outstanding Scholar Award is given to select graduating candidates each semester, and recipients are featured in the commencement program.

“It feels really amazing to have won this award,” Whiting said. “I am not one to actively seek recognition, but it certainly feels nice to win something every once in a while.”

As part of the award application, candidates must submit an essay describing why they should be chosen as an outstanding scholar at UF. Whiting’s response stemmed from her personal struggles with life as a student and how she was able to overcome them.

In Whiting’s first semester UF, she dealt with a number of challenges – her family moving, her grandmother passing away, panic attacks – all while feeling lonely in a town she was unfamiliar with.

“Needless to say, I cried a lot that semester (don’t worry, the next few semesters were a lot better!),” she said. “Thankfully, through those first two rough semesters, I had a few friends in the business school who helped me survive my classes and who dragged me out of my dorm room to experience ‘life.’ For that, I am eternally grateful for those friendships.”

Whiting also shared about her challenge in learning to accept a grade other than an “A” and adjusting to learning online in the early days of the pandemic.

“I concluded my essay by explaining how the ways I was challenged at UF might have been different than other students, but that I was proud of what I had been able to accomplish in my two years at the university,” she said. “My family always supported me, and they helped me through some of my worst days. My friends helped me step away from my laptop to actually enjoy being in college.

Overall, I want to represent UF and Warrington as I move forward in my career and possible future schooling, and I am extremely honored to have received the Fall 2020 Outstanding Scholar Award.”

During her two years at UF, Whiting was on the dean’s list for three semesters, served as a member on the winning team of the Warrington Welcome Ethics Case Competition, completed a 10-week internship with woman-owned marketing consulting firm Express Strategic Services and was a member of the Business Ethics Ambassadors (BEA).

As a Business Ethics Ambassador, Whiting mentored students in the Warrington Welcome Ethics Case Competition, volunteered at Gainesville High School to help lead discussions about ethics and consulted with business professionals about their ethical dilemmas.

“Overall, even though I tried out a few different clubs at UF, the BEAs were the one club that I felt like I actually belonged in, and the only one where I felt like I had an active role to play,” Whiting said.

Dr. Brian Ray, Director of the Poe Business Ethics Center and Senior Lecturer of Leadership and Ethics, notes the impact Whiting has made thanks to her dedication to the Business Ethics Ambassadors. 

“Kenzie is a tremendous student in every respect,” said Dr. Ray. “The scope of her influence on ethics education at the University of Florida has been significant. Being named a University of Florida Two-Year Scholar is a prestigious crowning achievement that brings great pride to not just the Poe Business Ethics Center but the entire Warrington College of Business community. Moreover, Kenzie has inspired her peers to focus greater attention on ethics education beyond just the classroom.

“I am confident that she will make a significant impact on the ethical culture of the company she plans to join. What a tremendous addition Kenzie will be for her colleagues!”