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Photo by Orin Zyvan ’04

Melody Harvey ’10


Hometown: Pasadena/Lynwood, California

How Reed changed me: When I got to Reed I was very shy, very quiet, and generally curious. Reed kindled my passion to help better the lives of various disadvantaged groups, especially low-income people and minorities. I learned how to use multiple perspectives and multifaceted approaches to my advantage. The most important thing to me is the impact that my work has on those I intend to help.

Influential book: The Economics and Politics of Race, by Thomas Sowell. I know, I know, he’s extremely conservative, but his book triggered my curiosity about issues of efficiency versus equity right in my own backyard.

Cool stuff I did: Peer mentor. Worked in admission office. President of the Black and African Student Union. Reed College Creative Review. Dorm host. Brought Ron Herndon ’70 back to campus to talk about the Eliot Hall sit-in of 1968. Applied my thesis to a real-life scenario.

Adviser: Prof. Noelwah Netusil

Thesis: Feasibility of Renter Equity Programs in Portland, Oregon, Given Housing and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Long-Term Renters

What it’s about: Determining what factors make a low-income renter more likely to take part in a renter equity program. These programs dedicate a portion of a renter’s monthly rent to future uses such as amassing a down payment on a house or educational expenses.

What it’s really about: Helping a local non-profit set up a program to help renters build assets and save money.

What’s next: Pepperdine School of Public Policy.