“My time at SJA instilled in me a love of teaching and of learning. The teachers that I had at SJA were such kind, passionate, and engaging role models and I was inspired to be just like them. The desire to teach has been a guiding force behind my interest in physics and astronomy and has carried me through my career path. I feel incredibly grateful to have started my academic journey at St. James, where I felt so supported and encouraged to follow my interests and to be myself.”
The Bryn Mawr School, Hamilton College, PhD in Physics and Astronomy from Dartmouth College.
McKinley is a high energy astrophysicist who studies the behavior of gas in the extreme magnetic and gravitational environments around neutron stars. During her PhD at Dartmouth College, McKinley studied the shape and movement of gas disks surrounding X-ray emitting neutron stars – the ultradense cores of massive stars that contain the Universe’s strongest magnetic fields. She completed two postdoctoral research positions, one at Caltech and one at the University of Michigan, during which she expanded her studies of gas dynamics in magnetic environments. In July 2023, McKinley joined the faculty at Middlebury College as an Assistant Professor of Physics where she is continuing her research and teaching undergraduate students. Outside of work, McKinley can be found reading, playing video games, and doing dog agility with her rescue dog, Theo.