Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Student Profiles

Alex Lemons

Alex Lemons

Life beyond Reed

In another life, Alex completed his undergrad training and planned on pursuing a teaching career in English literature. Then the war happened and he enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantrymen. For good or bad, his world became very narrow as he trained Marines, deployed, led, fought, survived and repeated the cycle. After seven years, he needed to move on but didn’t know exactly where and what he would do next. he ran his own skateboard company for several years but found himself more interested in books and poetry than cold calling and advertising campaigns.

Academic interests

Alex's primary focus was in English and history with interests, like all Reed students, all over the map: the rise and fall of 8 track tapes, presidential scandals, the Dust Bowls, environmental restoration of salmon habitat in the PNW, Willa Cather, poets of the first world war and American naturalists like Frank Norris and Jack London. As a result of having so many Vietnam veterans as undergraduate teachers and sitting in waiting areas with them at VA hospitals, the American war in Vietnam along with the 1960s and 1970s occupied a lot of his work at Reed. Alex graduated in spring, 2019.


“By the time my last tour in Iraq ended, I knew I wanted to return to school but I was unprepared for and terrifed of leaping into a narrow graduate program. I needed to learn how to learn again, re-discover what I was passionate about and practice this amongst other students who had their own breaks from academia. Looking for this type of program brought me in contact with institutions all over North America but Reed stuck out. This is a small community staffed with instructors who love to teach and have the time to support students. Reed offers classes that you won’t find elsewhere while scheduling them at times suitable for working professionals. We have a unique group of students in the program with varying backgrounds, careers, interests and ages. Since we work in conference style classes with small numbers, many of our academic accomplishments are team efforts rather than individual competitions. Overall, the MALS program is tight knit, supportive and inspiring.”