Michael A. McKinney grew up outside of Champaign-Urbana, in a small town called St. Joseph, in Illinois. In 2005, Michael earned his Eagle Scout award at the age of 15 after completing a project marking the 200th anniversary of the Lewis-Clark Expedition. In 2008, Michael began attending Valparaiso University, in Valparaiso, Indiana. Michael received a Presidential Scholarship and a Chemistry Scholarship to attend, and in 2013 Michael graduate with a Bachelor's in Political Science. In August of 2013, Michael began attending the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school for Government, Intelligence, and Military Studies. In May 2015, Michael graduated with a Master's in National Security Affairs from the Institute, with a Specialization in Foreign Propaganda, Public Diplomacy, and Political Warfare. Michael has previously been an intern in the Congressional Office of Doug Lamborn (CO-05) and an intern at the American Action Network, in the Hispanic Leadership Network. Michael has previously worked at the US State Department. Outside of work, Michael is likely to be found at weekly lectures at the Institute of World Politics, or participating in charitable organizations, such as the Order of the Amaranth, Order of Eastern Star, and the White Shrine of Jerusalem.