Growing up in Austin, Texas, Mackinsey can’t recall a time when she wasn’t interested in math and science. During her undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Mackinsey was involved in a summer camp called Science for Kids. Swarthmore chemistry majors mentored children involved in the local Chester Children's Chorus and completed science experiments with them. These experiments taught the kids about experimental design, the science behind everyday objects, and some of the effects of climate change. “I loved seeing the kids get excited about science,” Mackinsey says. “My favorite was when the students I mentored talked about how they wanted to do the experiments again at home to show their families, and how they wanted to be scientists or engineers when they grew up.”
After coming to UW-Madison to join Professor Randall Goldsmith’s group, Mackinsey wanted to find a way to keep sharing her love of science with others, leading her to join Science is Fun. With her research in the Goldsmith Lab, she studies how catalysts work using single-molecule spectroscopy. After completing her PhD, she’d like to work in a national laboratory.
In her free time, Mackinsey loves to crochet, swing dance, and is trying to figure out how to juggle.