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Dr. Megan Kenna

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Megan is responsible for overall strategic, financial, and operational leadership for the Schmidt Science Fellows organization.  She works closely with the Program Joint Committee (the organization’s board) and her Program team to deliver on their ambitious mission to harness interdisciplinary science to advance discovery for the benefit of the world.

Megan is the founding Executive Director of Schmidt Science Fellows and, since 2018, has worked with the Program’s sponsors, Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, to establish, develop, and grow the Fellowship. Under her leadership the number of Science Fellows selected each year and the funding available to each of them has doubled; the nationalities represented among the scientists in the Fellowship have grown to 28. In addition, she has also overseen the recruitment of a diverse, international Program team and Academic Council.

Megan was instrumental in the development of the Schmidt Science Fellows Strategic Plan to 2025 and in efforts that led, in June 2021, to Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust affirming their commitment to continue the Schmidt Science Fellows program beyond the initial three years.  This funding is part of a broader $1 billion philanthropic commitment made by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to find and develop global talent.

As Executive Director of Schmidt Science Fellows, Megan is also a member of the Rhodes Trust Senior Leadership Team, providing input on the strategic management of the Rhodes Trust and working closely with the executive leaders of the Trust and other Trust partnerships. She has played a key role in deepening the partnership between the Rhodes Trust and Schmidt Futures which has led to the establishment of Rise, a new talent program designed to increase opportunity for exceptional young people who need it to do more for others, together, throughout their lives.

Megan’s career has been defined by a commitment to dissolving disciplinary boundaries to accelerate direct impact. She has dual doctorates in Physiology (Neuroscience) and Clinical Psychology and she conducted research at the intersection of these fields, which have been published in scientific journals such as Cortex and Nature Reviews Neuroscience and featured in mainstream outlets such as Scientific American Mind, Newsweek, and the BBC. Before Schmidt Science Fellows, she ran a private psychology practice, MindMap PLLC, and was Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  She has also held administrative roles such as serving as Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Administration at Dartmouth College and has performed clinical work in settings including the Washington DC, Veterans Affairs Medical Center where she founded an interdisciplinary clinic that reduced wait-times from referral to diagnosis for Veterans with Alzheimer’s Disease by 85%.

Megan received her DPhil in Physiology from Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Catholic University of America.