Donahue grew up on a farm near Inland, Nebraska, a town of about 60 people. She attended St Cecilia's, a Catholic school with about 200 students, in Hastings, Nebraska. Her undergraduate physics S.B. degree is from MIT (1985) and her astrophysics Ph.D. is from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1990). She met her husband Mark Voit, who is also an astronomer, in graduate school. Her post-doctoral research in observational astronomy was completed at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, in Pasadena, California and at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. STScI later hired her as a staff astronomer to do research, work with the data archive team, and write science cases for the James Webb Space Telescope. In 2003, she moved to Michigan State University and re-entered academic life as a professor in the MSU Physics and Astronomy Department, in East Lansing, Michigan. She has three children, Michaela, Sebastian, and Angela.

© Megan Donahue 2021