Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Student Profiles

Josh Grgas

Josh Grgas

Life beyond Reed

Josh grew up in New Jersey, where he earned his Bachelor of Finance and Economics at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  A few years later he escaped the corporate world and spent close to a decade distilling whiskey and brewing beer and started The Commons Brewery in Portland. He then helped run a state-wide recycling program, which recycled over 2 billion beverage containers in 2018. He spends his spare time reading and drinking tea with his wife and playing basketball with Reed alumni, staff and faculty.

Academic interests

Josh is interested in how personal experience and subjectivity effect collective response and decision-making, how our personal inputs, our weird feelings and beliefs, take form in the larger cultural narrative. His favorite Reed projects include exploring the iconography of roadside ghost-bike memorials, analyzing the identity formation of street food vendors, and writing and performing a speech about his mother’s fascination with witchcraft.


"When I started exploring graduate programs I did not feel dedicated to a specific area of study, so I focused my search on interdisciplinary programs. I wanted to enroll in a program that would encourage my wandering set of interests, while also offering me a discipline in study I would not otherwise have. Reed MALS has not only made me a better writer and communicator but has changed the way I interact with the world. The generosity and rigor of the students and professors challenges me, but more importantly, has given me an intellectual confidence I did not previously have."