Originally from Portland, Oregon, Amy Chan
completed her MPA at Maxwell in 2008, and holds a Bachelors of Science in
Political Science and Environmental Studies from Santa Clara University.
Amy joined the City of San Jose in
2008, directly after graduating from Maxwell, as one of the City’s three 2008
Management Fellows. The fellowship, which is a prestigious local government
program incorporating rotations through various City departments, allowed Amy
to develop a broad understanding of local government and City services while
furthering her passion of urban planning and environmental policy.
Currently, Amy is an Associate
Transportation Specialist with the Department of Transportation for the City of
San José, California. Amy is a lead project manager, helping deliver street
improvement projects, develop grant applications, and support programmatic
activities related to creating an urban, multi-modal transportation system.
In addition, Amy teaches Contemporary
Environmental Health Issues at San Jose State University in the Health Science
Department. In her free time, Amy enjoys hiking,
cycling, and playing recreational soccer. Amy enjoys international travel and
taking photographs at all the local and national parks she visits.
Reflecting back on her time at
Maxwell, Amy found that her educational experience equipped her with the tools
and skills to effectively address policy and administrative issues that
confront her on a daily basis. As she puts it, "I reflect back on a
variety of Maxwell coursework examples to help me evaluate policy alternatives,
develop a plan, and lead a team to implement programs."
Amy's favorite Maxwell course was
Environmental Economics. She shares, "Prior to taking Environmental
Economics, I had an understanding of environmental policy based upon my
personal values. This course challenged me to think about environmental policy
in the context of economic theory. As a result, I developed my critical
thinking skills about how to address environmental issues as a policymaker in a
world of scarce resources. This course examines specific policy areas such as
the environment in developing countries, international trade agreements, and
energy resources. My favorite part of the course was the Climate Policy
Simulation, where we represented a specific country that was considering a
global climate initiative. During the exercise, we analyzed the trade-offs of
various proposals to reduce each country's carbon footprint and calculated the
negative impacts on the environment if we did not reach a collective
Additionally, Amy found Public
Budgeting to be a valuable course for her career: "In my current position,
I manage various program budgets and must document accurate financial
reporting. This course taught me how to develop a program budget, apply
fundamental accounting principles, and amend a budget when funding changes.
These skills are particularly useful at a time when local government budgets
are constantly being reduced. Our Public Budgeting course concluded with a
challenging assignment: the infamous Daycare Budget exercise. We were each
asked to develop a budget for a children's daycare center and prioritize
elements such as allocating money for lunches, achieving specific
teacher-to-children ratios, and estimating the hours of operation. Using the
skills I learned during this course, I created a budget that provided
high-quality services to the greatest number of children."
Her advice for students
considering coming to Maxwell? "Do not let the intense one-year schedule,
the high caliber faculty, or the weather in Syracuse intimidate you. The
Maxwell curriculum is extremely well-designed. Students concentrate on key
public administration courses during the two summer sessions while allowing
them to develop a combination of coursework during the semesters that is both
interesting and interrelated. The Maxwell faculty is on the forefront in their
fields of study. They are accessible, eager to share their research, and always
willing to meet with students. And finally, your classmates get you through the
snowy winters and hot summers. The Maxwell community, including alumni, is an
invaluable resource that you will have throughout your professional
Amy can be contacted via LinkedIn.