With seven years of college behind her, MacKenzie Ryczek is ready to apply what she learned.
The 25-year-old Seymour native and her husband, Nick Ryczek, graduated from the first and largest college of chiropractic Oct. 23.
That wrapped up MacKenzie’s postsecondary journey, which started with earning a Bachelor of Arts in science with a major in biology and minor in kinesiology and integrative physiology from Hanover College in 2017 and a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic this year.
Now, she and Nick are making an adjustment in opening their own business, New Wave Chiropractic, in Greenwood in the spring of 2021.
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“I am most looking forward to being able to serve the community,” MacKenzie said. “It’s not a secret that people are getting sicker, yet we are spending the most on health care out of any other country. I want to be a part of the change that is needed to get people back to being healthy. Now more than ever, people are in need of a health change.”
MacKenzie said she was in seventh grade when she decided she wanted to attend Palmer.
“I have always wanted to be in the health field to help people, but I wanted to do something other than prescribe medications,” she said. “Chiropractic is about helping people find the root cause of their health concerns and heal them from the inside out.”
She graduated from Seymour High School in 2013 before going on to Hanover to earn her undergraduate degree.
“I feel that my education from Seymour and Hanover prepared me very well for graduate school,” MacKenzie said. “Not only the type of classes I took, but the amount of effort the classes required really made me prioritize my education.”
The process of applying to chiropractic school included an application with two academic references, an essay and a phone interview.
“No specific undergraduate degree is required, but you do have to have a certain amount of science-based classes in order to start the program,” MacKenzie said.
Palmer was the only chiropractic school she visited as a prospective student and the only school she wanted to attend. The main campus is in Iowa, and other schools are in San Jose, California, and Port Orange, Florida.
“I wanted to go to Palmer in Davenport, Iowa, because it was the first chiropractic college and so much history lives there,” she said of the world’s first chiropractic school that was established in 1897.
At Palmer, MacKenzie said she received an excellent education and made many lifelong friends who are now valuable colleagues.
During her first trimester, she joined a club called AMPED, or Advanced Mentorship Program for Entrepreneurial Development.
“This group met every week to train on communication, leadership and various business principles to prepare you for opening a practice after graduation,” she said. “I attended countless conferences and leadership retreats with this organization that has prepared me so much for what I am doing right now.”
Making the grade was important to MacKenzie, and that showed by being named to the dean’s list eight times at Palmer.
“I focused on learning and retaining as much information as I could during the classes to prepare for the five parts of chiropractic board exams,” she said.
October was a big month because she and Nick were married Oct. 3 and followed that up 20 days later with graduation.
She and Nick met at Palmer.
“We were in the same graduating class and had almost every class together for over three years,” MacKenzie said. “The intensity and demanding nature of going to school at Palmer can put strain on relationships, so it was nice to be able to share that stress and experience with Nick. Being able to graduate together made it easy for us to focus on the same goals right after graduation.”
Nick, a Wisconsin native, said it wasn’t until his early undergraduate years he realized he wanted to be a chiropractor.
“I always knew I wanted to go into health care and help people, but I didn’t exactly know where I fit into that until I was introduced to chiropractic,” he said. “The natural approach of chiropractic really spoke to me, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to go to chiropractic school and practice this amazing form of healing.”
Nick said he was lucky to meet MacKenzie at Palmer.
“Chiropractic school is pretty tough, so having her to go through everything with me was amazing,” Nick said. “We were able to keep each other going through the hard times and celebrate the good times together.”
The ceremony Oct. 23 was MacKenzie’s third graduation. Her parents, James Harvey II and Tracy Harvey of Seymour, were in attendance.
“It meant so much to be able to walk across the stage and be ceremonially promoted to doctor,” she said. “I have been in school since 2013 receiving a higher education. This is the first time in my life that I don’t have a class to attend or an assignment to do. It feels surreal that I have finally accomplished what I set out to do many years ago.”
Getting married and graduating in the same month was almost like running a marathon, she said.
“It took a lot of planning and tons of phone calls to be able to graduate with my new last name,” she said. “It was nice to be able to celebrate the entire month of October with friends and family on our accomplishments.”
MacKenzie decided she wanted to open her own practice after she joined AMPED.
“This group really gave me the courage and determination to do that,” she said. “After Nick and I started dating, I brought him into the group and shared my goals and dreams, and I was lucky that he had the same goals, and everything just seemed to work out.”
They chose Greenwood for several reasons.
“I am very familiar with the area, it’s really close to Indianapolis but not as busy, it’s a very family-oriented town and it is going through some major growth, as well,” MacKenzie said. “We visited Greenwood a few times to just drive around, and it really felt like home.”
The Ryczeks will be the only chiropractors and plan to have at least two employees at the start and hire more as they grow.
They are certified in Torque Release Technique, an instrument-based system of analyzing the spine that allows them to make adjustments as gentle and specific as possible. They also are trained to see pregnant women, infants and children of all ages.
“We’re so excited to start this chapter of our lives and be able make a huge impact on the health of our community,” Nick said of opening the practice.
MacKenzie hopes her success story inspires others to pursue their dreams and work toward achieving them.
“I hope to serve as an example in that you can do anything you set your mind to,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, how strange anyone thinks your dream is. You can do whatever you are determined to do. It just takes effort, and it may take a ton of time, but it is so worth it in the end.”
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Name: MacKenzie Ryczek
Education: Seymour High School (2013); Hanover College (Bachelor of Arts in science with a major in biology and minor in kinesiology and integrative physiology, 2017); Palmer College of Chiropractic (Doctorate of Chiropractic, 2020)
Family: Husband, Nick Ryczek; parents, James Harvey II and Tracy Harvey
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New Wave Chiropractic: facebook.com/newwavegreenwood