PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

James Chan

“What small steps can you take in your personal life and career to make this world a better place, especially for the disadvantaged?”

James Chan completed his Junior Summer Institute experience at Princeton University in 2011. He went on to attain a Master of Public Policy degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2014. PPIA prepared James for graduate school by equipping him with the technical and analytical skills he needed. Upon arriving at the Humphrey School, he found he understood concepts a lot quicker than his peers because he had already been exposed to the ideas during JSI. PPIA also allowed him to earn a full scholarship for graduate school. Today, he is debt-free, an accomplishment he is extremely proud of.

For James, graduate school taught him to think in an analytical and thoughtful way about public policy issues. His experience also gave him a deeper understanding about the value of working across sectors and industries to solve the big issues of the 21st century. James believes that public service means being involved in the community and understanding the unique issues it is facing and how you can contribute to solving them. He used graduate school as a chance to get involved in the Minneapolis community and focus on developing practical skills to strengthen is professional capabilities.

His advice to those considering graduate school is to take some time after completing an undergraduate degree to gain work experience. Real world experience can help elevate your graduate degree when seeking jobs in the future.