Amy Chan is an Executive Analyst with the Office of the City Manager for the City of San José, California. Originally from Portland, OR, Amy completed her MPA at Maxwell in 2008, and also holds a Bacherlors of Science in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Santa Clara University.
In her work, Amy’s primary duty is to coordinate and manage the Green Vision strategy – a comprehensive fifteen-year plan to create jobs, preserve the environment, and improve quality of life for the San José community. For example, Amy tracks the performance metrics of the ten Green Vision goals and presents annual progress reports to City Council. Amy works with an interdepartmental team across the entire City to develop work plans, facilitate public-private partnerships, and apply for grant opportunities to advance the San José Green Vision.
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 solution.”
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 careers.”
Amy can be contacted via LinkedIn.
To read more alumni profiles, visit the Office of Alumni Relations website.