Makeda was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from Pomona College in 2014 with a B.A. in chemistry, where she worked with Prof. Cynthia Selassie investigating new antimalarial therapeutics. She then went on to obtain her Ph.D. at Columbia University under the supervision of Prof. James Leighton. Her Ph.D. focused on the total synthesis of non-aromatic polyketides and their development as novel antibody-drug conjugates. In her spare time, Makeda likes to play soccer, watch movies, and go to the beach.