One evening during her sophomore year in high school, Mackey was discussing her future with her parents over dinner. She was explaining to her father that she loves psychology and working with people, and she’s fascinated by outer space. She’d been toying with the idea of potentially pursuing a career with NASA, but wasn’t interested in engineering. “My dad looked at me and said, ‘Well, why don’t you become a psychologist for astronauts?’ So, I Googled it, and I thought, oh my gosh, this is really a thing. This is what I want to do.”
Her strong family connection has been an inspiration to Mackey in more ways than one. Her mother, who is from Mexico and works as an interpreter and translator at the local school district, also volunteered at medical clinics for farmworkers. Mackey, who is fluent in Spanish and was a member of Corvallis High School’s volunteer service club, accompanied her mom during her visits to the clinics—which further solidified Mackey’s desire to pursue a line of work that would allow her to help others.
“It was something I was so passionate about that I wrote my college essay on it,” Mackey says. “I thought it was super cool the way I could make such a positive impact with something that was normal for me, which was speaking Spanish with my family.”
Thanks to her dad’s encouragement, Mackey played high school basketball and lacrosse, the latter of which she continues to play today as a Lafayette student. “Sports are mentally as well as physically challenging, which I found to be beneficial, but I also loved the team dynamic; I made a lot of friends through playing sports.” In addition, Mackey was president of her high school’s National Honor Society, and she participated in SAFE (Students Advocating for Equity) club.
How she envisions herself embodying Lafayette’s Cur Non spirit
Mackey says her parents’ unwavering support taught her to be open to pursuing new opportunities—even those she isn’t comfortable with. “I enjoy exploring different things,” she says. “I didn’t have friends in all the clubs I signed up for when I came to Lafayette, but I found people I enjoy spending time with. I love that Lafayette has given me the option to study both Spanish and psychology, and to study abroad; I’m planning to go to Spain. I’m hoping to eventually do some neuroscience research. For me, the best part of Lafayette is that I can try all these different things—and I plan to continue exploring those opportunities throughout my time here.”