Developing Her Narrative
During her time at Guilford, McKinley discovered that English wasn’t her only passion. She also followed her love of history as a European History minor and developed her love of film into a potential career path.
“Guilford has allowed me to take my English major, Film Studies minor, and European History minor and fuse them together,” McKinley says. “Even though I studied a seemingly random group of subjects, my work at Guilford has shown they all intersect.”
McKinley took her first film course with Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies Chad Phillips and was so blown away that she’s taken classes with him every semester since.
“He's what made me want to do Film Studies, specifically, even though I was just minoring in film. I didn't know if I really wanted to go down that track. And that's when I finally realized that I wanted to discuss and analyze films for the rest of my life,” McKinley says. She’s always loved movies, but Chad helped her to see that she also enjoys analyzing them, not only the artistic aspects but also the narrative and structure.
Over the years, she has been Chad’s teaching assistant for multiple classes and even had the opportunity to work with him on curriculum building. “Guilford being so small and me being able to work so closely with Chad for the next three years was really influential in hammering home the fact that I don't want to just help somebody write a syllabus for a class on masterpieces and film — I want to write my own,” McKinley says.
McKinley plans to use her English major and Film Studies and European History minors to attend graduate school at N.C. State in the fall for a Master’s in English with a concentration in Film Studies. She hopes to go on to earn her doctorate degree and teach English and Film studies in higher education.
The incredible support from Guilford’s faculty helped McKinley find her passions and her path. “I can talk about faculty at Guilford for hours. I think that they have some of the most amazing people there,” she says.