Taylor Hamilton ’18 MPA/MA (IR) to Spend a Year in Asia as a Luce Scholar
March 15, 2023
The Maxwell School alum aspires to work as an urbanist and spatial equity advocate.
Since receiving a master of public administration and a master of arts in international relations from the Maxwell School in 2018, Taylor Hamilton has put her training to good use as a public policy and management consultant.
Her accomplishments include helping a federal agency increase broadband access for tribal, rural and Black communities. She has also advocated for equitable housing access through homeownership programs for low-income households and natural resource management in urban areas.
Long term, her goal is a career as an urbanist and spatial equity advocate. “I advise local governments, national government agencies and international NGOs on topics ranging from accessible community-building to smart cities, such as interviewing citizens and developing plans to improve urban spaces using their input,” she says. “I’m interested in the poorest of cities such as Syracuse where local government is remediating spatial inequity by removing a highway dividing the city along racial and income lines.”
Hamilton was recently named a 2023-24 Luce Scholar, an honor that will provide a major boost toward her aspirations. The Luce Scholars Program was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. It provides stipends, language training and individualized professional placement in Asia.
Hamilton is one of 18 scholars selected from a pool of 34 finalists. The University’s third Luce Scholar, she will spend a year working in Asia beginning in late June. She says the year abroad will be “transformative” and provide “a more holistic view of community development.”
“Since the Luce Scholar program presents an opportunity for soft diplomacy, I would also like to share urban policy approaches that U.S. cities have found work to support their citizens, especially vulnerable communities—such as low-income
households, Black and Hispanic households, refugee-led households, gender and sexual minorities, and tribal communities,” she says.
“I believe inequity can only be addressed by developing public policy solutions that work for all, and by learning from effective policy approaches employed by other countries. Through a year in Asia with Luce, I know I will develop the skills and experience needed to support this goal.”
Taylor Hamilton ’18 M.P.A./M.A. (IR)
Growing up as a Black American child in Texas, Hamilton learned the realities of disenfranchisement at an early age. “I listened to my elders discuss redlining, predatory mortgage lending and exclusionary zoning even before I fully comprehended their meaning,” she says. “By the time I understood how these types of practices influenced urban development, I was determined to promote economic opportunity for people with similar life experiences.”
Hamilton completed two years of her general education at Collin County Community College while still a high school student. This, she says, prepared her to navigate spaces with confidence in her abilities and experience.
Before coming to Syracuse University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and economics from the University of Kentucky.
In addition to her graduate studies at Maxwell, Hamilton also completed a Certificate of Advanced Study in conflict resolution. She studied the regional geopolitics and economy of East Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and the influence of non-state actors. She says she benefited from meeting people from around the globe and interacting with her peers—learning how public policy can best serve people.
When Hamilton returns from Asia, she says she hopes to “make equitable community development a reality for the most vulnerable Americans.”
“I believe inequity can only be addressed by developing public policy solutions that work for all, and by learning from effective policy approaches employed by other countries,” she says. “Through a year in Asia with Luce, I know I will develop the skills and experience needed to support this goal.”
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