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For Yalies among '30 Under 30,'
youth not wasted on the young

From time to time we write about people who are counted as Yalies although they never completed their Yale educations. But this might be the first time we take note of someone because he dropped out of Yale.

The special someone is Dan Friedman, who left the Yale College class of 2013 to join the first class of Thiel Fellows. Those are the $100,000 dropout grants offered by Peter Thiel—PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor—so that young people can "skip college and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education." Friedman cofounded Thinkful, an online programming school that says it is "on a mission to reinvent education" through customized curriculum and one-one-one tutoring.

Now the 22-year-old Friedman—whose company has won financial backing from Thiel himself—finds himself on Forbes' 2014 "30 Under 30" list. The compilation actually turns out be 450 young "prodigies who are reinventing the world right now": 30 in each of 15 categories. (Friedman's category is social entrepreneurship.)

Other Yalies on the list include a half-dozen former summer fellows of the Yale Entrepreneurial Instititute: Victor Cheng ’08, cofounder (with fellow Yale alumni, and at least one dropout) of the online advertising company PaperG; Aaron Feuer, Xan Tanner, and David Carel, all class of 2013 and cofounders of Panorama Education; and Brad Hargreaves ’08 and Matthew Brimer ’09, whose General Assembly offers online education "on the most relevant skills of the 21st century economy."

Forbes even includes some Yalies under 30 who aren't launching startups. Nicholas Downing ’14MD, a student at the School of Medicine, is one of the youngest first authors ever published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Leif Dautch ’07, an assistant attorney general in California, "has argued and won 12 criminal cases representing the state in [the] California Court of Appeals." And Noorain Khan ’11JD is a corporate lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz who has "traveled abroad with the State Department to speak about Islam in the US."

Doubtless there are other Yale alumni among the Forbes 450. If you spot any, let us know!

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