Grad profile: Travelling the 'Rhodes' to success

Spring Convocation: Michael Mackley, Faculty of Science

- May 21, 2014

Science grad Michael Mackley. (Danny Abriel photo)
Science grad Michael Mackley. (Danny Abriel photo)

For Michael Mackley, Dalhousie's 88th Rhodes Scholar, success is a matter of balance, passion and opportunity.

Graduating from the Bachelor of Science Honours program in Biology with numerous academic achievements and scholarships to his name, Michael discovered a passion for genetics early on in his time at Dal.

“I always thought I was going to be an architect,” he recalls. “In high school, I was good at sciences, and chemistry just clicked. Then I studied genetics in first-year and realized that biology was where I could use my love of science to help people.”

That experience, of finding what “clicked," has Michael open and excited about where his career might take him. “Right now, I see myself coming back to Canada to be a clinician-scientist,” he says, “but I am going into my DPhil with an open mind. I will let the experience take me where it does.”

While academics are a priority, he also values time spent on the other pursuits that are important to him. Music, in particular, keeps him grounded,be it practicing with Dalhousie’s Music-in-Medicine Program or finding time to play at home.

His strong sense of community has also been a driving force in his life. In the spring, Michael coaches youth flag football in Dartmouth, giving back the way his coaches did while he was growing up.

“This is my home and I have always been supported by family, friends, coaches, professors — everyone,” he says. “Dal is a perfect example of that: it’s big enough to give me every opportunity I could dream of, but small enough that I got to know my professors and they were enthusiastic about letting me get involved in research.”  

His advice to his fellow grads is to take every chance and opportunity that comes their way. “Don’t listen to your self-doubt; listen to your passion and the people that support you… You never know where you will end up.”

This article is part of a series on our newest graduates. These profiles are also published in the 2014 Spring Convocation Keepsake, which is distributed at Convocation ceremonies. For more on Convocation (including live webcasts), visit the Convocation website.


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