McKenzie graduated from Scripps in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in art conservation. “As one of the first students to graduate with this new degree,” McKenzie commented, “I had so much support from many professors in many different departments: chemistry, art history, anthropology, archaeology. The focus on interdisciplinary studies at Scripps provided me with the perfect environment in which to combine my passions for both science and art.”
She studied abroad at Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy, where she learned techniques for paintings and fresco conservation. Although she logged over 1200 hours of hands-on conservation work, she always knew she wanted to get her Ph.D. in chemistry. McKenzie accepted a research position at the George Washington University, where she works in Dr. Akos Vertes’ analytical chemistry lab. Although her current research is not art-focused, she considers it a perfect complement to her conservation studies. McKenzie is learning how to improve instruments’ limits of detection, which is important in a field where samples are limited. On the weekends, she volunteers at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. After earning her doctorate, McKenzie’s goal is to work in a conservation science laboratory.