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Reid Magdanz

Class of 2012-2013

About Reid

Reid Magdanz grew up in the Iñupiat Eskimo town of Kotzebue in northwest Alaska. With only 3,000 people and no roads in or out, it had few urban amenities, but offered unparalleled opportunity for learning about and living on the land. Reid’s formative childhood experiences came in open-air boats and wood-heated cabins, behind snowmobile handlebars, relaxing on berry-filled tundra, and camped out on gravel bars. He learned from and with the Iñupiat, who have called the area home for generations. After graduating from high school, Yale offered an opportunity the small-town kid could not turn down. He spent four years learning from people who may never have spent a night without running water but know how to dress in New York, give a speech before two hundred people, and have lunch with Senators. But home was still Alaska, so he supplemented his cultural and social education in the ways of urban America with an academic focus on Alaska. Reid chose courses, projects, and papers such that he learned about natural resource management and indigenous people in Alaska. This interest in resources and rural people drew him to Laos for his Luce placement. There he worked in the capital, Vientiane, with Village Focus International, a land rights focused non-governmental organization. He worked on a Lao research team studying gaps between policy and implementation in the hydropower sector, one of the most critical development sectors in the country.
Following his Luce year, Reid interned for the Obama White House before returning to Alaska, where he has spent most of the last five years staffing a member of the Alaska House of Representatives. Reid is 27 years old and currently a Schwarzman Scholar in Beijing, China. Reid cares about the challenges rural people face in a global economy, indigenous language revitalization, transitioning to renewable energy, and promoting humility-based, fact-oriented politics.

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