McCarty’s music literature professor and mentor says, “By the time I met Megan in her second semester of Music Literature, I had already heard that she was an excellent cellist and a sensitive musician. I did not know at that point, however, that she would also become a brilliant researcher and superbly tenacious tackler of musical and musicological problems. Through her undergraduate research, she was able to overturn more than a century’s worth of received scholarly wisdom to make an important contribution to global scholarship.”

Words used to describe McCarty include brilliant, creative, passionate and compassionate, among others. Her aunt says, “Megan has always been interested in many things and never quite fit any one niche; she could be a tomboy at times, and a charming and precious young woman as well.”

McCarty’s liberal arts education has provided the basis for all of her other academic pursuits. Her aunt says, “She saw suffering in her world and was drawn to help. She has a loving, caring heart that reaches out to humanity with kindness, generosity and an abiding desire to make things better.”

Her Southwestern mentor adds, “Megan’s voracious appetite for learning, her propensity for both digging deeper and climbing higher with every intellectual and musical endeavor, and her steadfast resolve to understand both the inherently musical and more broadly social and political aspects of everything she hears, plays, reads or studies exemplify some of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education. She is committed to the dissemination of knowledge and furthering of understanding through critical inquiry, and thus also toward furthering the well-being of humanity through inquiring, learning, knowledge and understanding.”

Following Southwestern, McCarty pursued and was awarded her master’s degree from Boston University, and then spent a year conducting research and studying in Germany under a prestigious DAAD (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst) scholarship.

One of her professors during her German exchange year says McCarty was “an extraordinary student and critical thinker who became some kind of an idol for younger students. Megan also affected me personally in a positive way; she is a kind of moral anchor with her ability to understand a diverse range of people’s ways of thinking.”  

He also shares, “Megan often related her knowledge and her awareness to concrete present-day social and everyday problems, like injustice, oppression and inequality. This ability, which I found very special and rare, taught me not to limit my growing up as an academic and intellectual solely to a ‘l’art pour l’art’ attitude, but rather to link and understand my knowledge and thoughtfulness as kind of a responsibility for how our societies look.”

Because McCarty is considered an outstanding role model for Southwestern students as they aspire to spread the University’s name and reputation as home to intellectual rigor, creative and engaged scholarship, and scholarly excellence both within the U.S. and abroad, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni presents her with the 2015 Distinguished Young Alumna Award.