- Policy Interest(s): Local Environmental Policy / International Education
- Sector Interest(s): Non-profit / Private / Local Government / State Government
- Location Preference(s): West Michigan / Pacific Northwest, US/Canada
- Ideal Role(s): Policy Entrepreneur / Practitioner
Ian Magnuson, a graduating Master of Public Policy, is an experienced innovator and entrepreneur, deeply interested in the process by which policies are developed and implemented. His drive to leave an organization better than he found it started during his undergraduate studies at Western Michigan University. Since 2009, Ian has co-founded three student organizations, proposed and executed an internship coordinating all international activities on campus, and later, founded a website dedicated to empowering young Americans to explore the world from their hometown.
Ian is also an experienced international educator, having completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Leipzig, Germany. While living abroad, Ian’s passion for environmental action began, as he saw a huge disparity in the amount of clean energy adopted in Germany relative to climatically-similar Michigan. Owing to the ability to tailor his classes towards a policy focus, this experience, coupled with courses on policy evaluation, administration, and an elective course on climate change, Ian began to explore a city’s options in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of global climate change. This led to his current capstone project developing an easy-to-understand framework for city sustainability and climate action planning and investigating the methods by which these policies diffuse more broadly.
A consistent through-line in Ian’s professional and academic experience is his focus on interdisciplinary solutions, being often most interested in how seemingly unrelated ideas relate. Before settling on climate action and sustainability planning, Ian made sure to explore a wide array of policy fields. As a graduate assistant, he had the opportunity to serve as a research assistant looking into local educational politics. Later, during his InnovateGov internship with the Michigan Office for New Americans, Ian interviewed multiple stakeholders and synthesized data from a variety of governmental bodies to create a foundational report on the intersection between federal immigration policy changes and state agricultural production.
While Ian’s policy research is geared mostly to local action, he still has an eye to issues of global relevance. This is, in part, what led him to the Global Urban Studies Program specialization, which had him look at climate action planning in Denmark, the United Kingdom, and most recently, Canada. Ian wishes to advocate for ways cities can think more globally and consider their environmental impact in a global, rather than national (or smaller) context.
Overall, Ian is flexible about his career goals, but ideally he would like to work as both a policy developer and communicator. He would like to harness his experience and passion for education , innovation, and policy entrepreneurship in a way that helps cities address global climate change and help transition Michigan to a carbon-free energy infrastructure. Ending on a lighter note, Ian is a longtime competitive swimmer and is learning to like running. He’s is also interested in travelling, photography, drawing, and readily admits he knows too much about Star Wars!
Ian can be reached via email or his LinkedIn.
Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!
If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.