Catching up with Capt. Margaret Kealy-Machella ’10 …


What are you up to now?

I am currently serving as the Chief of Public Affairs for the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in southwestern Idaho, leading a unit of 15 airmen who capture photo, video, and create products that tell the story of the Air Force and our fighter wing to various audiences.

In this role, I ensure that my airmen are cared for both professionally and personally, so that they not only are able to do their jobs but also are a part of something bigger, our Air Force family. I also work to advise commanders at all levels in the wing on how to best engage with airmen, the community, key civic leaders, and the media.

“MPA set the foundation for my success, not only enabling me to develop skills I use every day, but instilling in me a value for understanding all sides of the discussion, a value integral to my work and to me personally.”

The Public Affairs Officer role can often be challenging. On any given day, I might be advising and planning crisis communication such as deaths and criminal prosecutions, overseeing standard information campaigns such as winter safety, handling environmental communication challenges such as water quality, or ensuring that the daily communications across the base tie into the higher headquarters priorities and the National Defense Strategy.

How did MPA help you get there?

MPA set the foundation for my success. MPA pushed me to develop my critical thinking skills through English and various science courses; it lit my creative fire through art and theater, developed my leadership skills and empathy through my friendships and sports, and widened my worldview through Project Week trips and service learning.

All of these skills have directly equipped me to consider solutions for challenges from a variety of angles and to empower my diverse airmen professionally and support them personally.

Over the past few years, it has become abundantly clear that MPA not only enabled me to develop those skills, but instilled in me a value for understanding all sides of the discussion, a value integral to my work and to me personally.