Equally comfortable working with the written word or a chainsaw, Nate Podgajny looks forward to working to spread progressive ideas in the forgotten rural places that need them the most.
A lifelong teacher and learner that has been described as "at war between stereotypes", Nate comes to NLC after four years spent developing and leading social justice and environmentally focused community-building projects for the United Church of Christ in Montana. During his time there he worked to support and expand ties with mission aligned organizations including HRDC, Planned Parenthood and the League of Conservation Voters.
Born in Maine, Nate split his time growing up between Harpswell, Maine and Leadville, Colorado. He carries a fervent appreciation for the strengths of rural communities as well as deep concern for the culture of alienation that has arisen outside cities in recent years amid the decline of historic industries and explosive growth in inequality.
Nate holds a Bachelor's of History from the University of Montana at Missoula; along the way he interned with the Sierra Club, ultimately writing his thesis on local reactions to the establishment of Glacier National Park. Graduating in 2009 into the teeth of the recession, he found his way onto the quality assurance management team for the Missoula Census, staying through the closure of the office in November 2010, at which point he returned to his career as a professional ski instructor and wildland firefighter, continuing to volunteer in a number of environmental advocacy roles.
He returned to school for a Master's at Montana State in Bozeman in 2012, finishing his neuroscience thesis in 2014. He spent the next two years working in the lab while continuing to teach skiing, now at a private resort in Big Sky. Concern over the level of inequality he experienced on a daily basis at that resort and the overall direction of society during the 2016 election cycle led him to accept an unsolicited offer to work as a community organizer for the UCC church in Bozeman- work which brought him into progressive circles, and, finally, to NLC.
Nate is a passionate outdoorsman and environmentalist that could not be any more grateful for the gift of living in Montana. In his free time, you can most likely find him somewhere in the mountains snowboarding, hiking or hunting.