Alumni Profile

Megan K. McCarthy (’15PhD, Art History and Archaeology)

Megan K. McCarthy

What is your current role?
Vice President of Major Gifts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA).

What are you working on now?
PAFA is the oldest art museum and art school in the country. My team and I secure funding for exhibitions, scholarship support, and program sponsorship.

What drew you to your field?
My favorite stories come from art history, and my favorite works of art compel and inspire my career, as they did my graduate study.

What lessons from graduate school have you found useful in your professional life?
Graduate school was very challenging for me. I felt perpetually out of my comfort zone! This helped my professional life tremendously. After finishing my PhD, I’m confident taking on even the most daunting of tasks.

What skill has unexpectedly helped you in your career?
Fellowship applications! Never anyone’s favorite, but I enjoyed making the case to grant-funding institutions as to why my project was relevant to their mission. And now I’m a fundraiser.

What is your favorite memory from your graduate years?
My research trips to Germany, hands down.

What are your passions outside of your work?
I recently moved to Philadelphia after eighteen years in New York, so I'm spending a lot of time exploring the city with my fiancé, Ted. Or I’m in yoga class or running along the Schuylkill River.

What is your advice for current GSAS students?
A good dissertation is a done dissertation.

What is next for you, professionally or otherwise?
I recently joined the GSAS Alumni Board, and will celebrate my fifteenth Columbia College reunion this spring. I’m looking forward to staying connected to campus as I settle in to life in Philly.