She was born in the colony on the planet of Tau Cygna V as a descendant of the original settlers who arrived on the SS Artemis. Like all the other colonists, she was immune to the effects of hyperonic radiation.
In the year 2366, when the Sheliak demanded that the colonists be removed from the planet, she helped Lieutenant Commander Data of the USS Enterprise-D, who was assigned to arrange the evacuation. Initially, she was the only one who believed that there was a need for it, strengthened by her belief that androids were more trustworthy than Humans. Eventually, Data managed to convince the other colonists, thanks in a large part to McKenzie's help.
She became fond of Data, and was disappointed when he revealed that he had no feelings for her, as he had no feelings of any kind. Data actually kissed her as he was about to depart, noting simply that she seemed to need it.