Max Clary

Dr. de Paula was one of the first people to show me how I can apply my book knowledge to real-life applications, which ended up sparking my passion for global public health.

Max Clary BA '18



Degree and Class Year

BA ’18


Evergreen, Colorado

Current City

Palo Alto, California




Amnesty International Student Area Coordinator for Oregon, President of L&C Amnesty International Club, cofounder of nonprofit KareMeKuc, cofounder and CEO of Organic Route, lead student researcher and intern at CARES NW

Continuing Studies

MD, Stanford University

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Beautiful, Challenging, Creative

Life After L&C

October 2023 Update

What have you been doing since graduation?

When I graduated from L&C, I moved to Uganda for three years to found Organic Route, an organization that addresses malnutrition in communities devastated by civil war. While building the organization, I earned a master of public health degree from George Washington University. I am currently a medical student at Stanford Medical School.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for medical school?

I loved L&C’s small class size and the opportunity to engage with my professors. The connections I made with my peers and professors deepened my understanding in class and grew my natural curiosity. The chair of the chemistry department at the time, Professor Julio de Paula, mentored me in his lab to apply my chemistry coursework to building a low-cost water filter for low-income countries. Dr. de Paula was one of the first people to show me how I can apply my book knowledge to real-life applications, which ended up sparking my passion for global public health.

Why did you major in chemistry?

I majored in chemistry because it felt like doing puzzles and I thought it would prepare me well for medical school.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

Practically, my biochemistry class taught by Dr. Janis Lochner was the most important information I learned. I used it on my exams to get into medical school and almost every day since I became a medical student. At the time, L&C had a small entrepreneurship center run by Dr. Samir Parikh. He believed in me and nominated me for most promising student entrepreneur award through the Oregon Entrepreneur Network. Although I did not win, I was a finalist and featured in the Portland Business Journal. Because of Samir, I was able to make the connections that turned my entrepreneurial ideas into a self-sustaining business.

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

As an alum, I stay to connected to L&C mostly through the relationships I fostered with peers, faculty, and even residents in the neighborhood. I was the student representative to the Dallaire Scholarship, which offers Rwandan students a full scholarship for one year. I made sure the scholars felt welcomed, and I enjoy maintaining a relationship with them whenever I am in East Africa.

Life at L&C

Max Clary '18 What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

It’s in a beautiful area, and it’s well connected with a variety of abroad programs.

You were very involved with the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership during your time at Lewis & Clark and have worked on a business proposal with fellow student Joey Benyair BA ’19. Tell me about your business: what you’ve accomplished and where you see it going.

My good friend, Joey Benyair and I started Organic Route out of a dream to make a saleable, socially-conscious venture. I founded a nonprofit called CareMeKuc in the beginning of college that partners with local stakeholders to rehabilitate child soldiers in northern Uganda. We designed and implemented a successful six-month-long agricultural program that retaught skills these children should have learned from their parents, had they not been killed. We modeled our curriculum and approach to fit models that the most successful NGOs have been using in the region for decades. In addition, I worked with Janis Lochner, the LC nutrition professor, to address local dietary health problems such as kwashiorkor. Scaling our work to a larger and more consistent format became very difficult with the donation-based model on which KareMeKuc was started.

With the help of many mentors, Joey and I founded Organic Route as a company that exports food commodities out of central Africa to make a social impact on a two-fold basis. On one level, we provide consistent global market opportunities for farmers that have previously financially suffered from excessive surplus in their local markets. In addition, the margins that make this venture a viable concept are used to fund and scale the programs I developed through KareMeKuc, as well as the programs our other partners have developed.

Joey and I are excited about the promising future of Organic Route. We currently have a fully functioning ground team in Uganda and we have entered into a partnership with one of the largest farming cooperative and processing centers in Uganda. We expect to enter international markets with gluten-free flours and dried fruit by the end of September 2018. I will be moving full-time to Uganda at the end of August 2018 to build our local teams and keep close track of our supply logistics.

What three words would you use to describe the Bates Center?

Extremely helpful, game-changer, hardworkers

What was your favorite Bates Center class or program? How did it expanded your knowledge?

Winterim was an unbelievable opportunity. It lead directly to a few of my mentors that have become huge supports for me. In addition, the knowledge I gleaned was instrumental in my currently success and opportunity analysis.

How do you feel that entrepreneurship and leadership integrate into and enhance a liberal arts education?

To me, my work with KareMeKuc and Organic Route has been the epitome of using my liberal arts education. When Joey and I sit down every day for our meeting, all we do is problem solve. We are always faced with some type of issue, be it logistical, technical, or even mathematical. In order to overcome these challenges, we have had to draw on a high level of creativity and networking to learn what we can from teachers across many disciplines and business sectors. I think the Bates Center and entrepreneurship generally are great examples of tying together and using knowledge from many different places.