Research Historian | Enthusiastic Interpreter
“As a public historian, my goal is to craft compelling historical narratives that can engage and inspire a wide audience.”
Work at HAI
At HAI, McKayla is a researcher, writer, and content developer. With a background in archival reference services, she is an experienced researcher who loves to investigate a range of historical subjects. Although she specializes in American Civil War history, McKayla has conducted client-based research on everything from New Deal homestead communities to West Virginia’s historic architecture. She is passionate about combining historical scholarship with effective interpretation to bring history to life for public audiences.
A multi-disciplinary historian with a love of storytelling, McKayla has developed museum exhibitions; conducted oral histories; researched historic properties; created digital exhibits and social media content; and written and edited a documentary. At HAI, her work includes exhibit and website development, in-depth historical research, and image acquisition and licensing.
Path to HAI
Before joining HAI, McKayla worked as a research librarian at the Utah Division of State History, where she facilitated access to the state of Utah’s archival collections and provided individualized assistance to researchers. She also held internships and positions at a variety of cultural organizations including the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum, and Thanksgiving Point Institute.
McKayla earned a master’s degree in public history from West Virginia University in 2020. While in graduate school, she held an assistantship at the West Virginia & Regional History Center, the largest archive in the state. McKayla majored in history at Brigham Young University, graduating summa cum laude in 2015. Her love of the Renaissance led her to study abroad in Florence, Italy, where she developed and presented guided tours of the Basilica di San Lorenzo.