Jenny Chan

Class of 2017

Jenny was raised in a single mother household in an affordable housing unit in the Tenderloin. She attended public schools in SF.  During late middle school, her mother got injured from working at a noodle factory in SOMA. Since her mother was not fluent in English, she had to help her mother navigate through the hospital as well as claiming worker's comp. From that experience, she knew she had to be the first one in her family to attend university for her family to have a better future. Because of the missed work of her mother, extracurricular activities that she pursued such as track and field became limited.  She had part time jobs from retail stores at Fisherman's Wharf to the Wax Museum Souvenir Shop to tutoring at a local tutoring center. Given the circumstances with unreliable public transportation, she started organizing her own taxi pool at the bus station on Jones and Turk in order to make it to school on time after a full night of job and homework.

As a daughter of a refugee family, she was the first one in her family to attend a four year college. She graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.A. of Economics with a concentration of Applied Statistics. During college, she had multiple jobs from the dining hall to America Reads to teaching swimming. She was then lucky enough to find a professor who believed in her and worked as a research assistant at Regional Economics Application Lab where she did employment and housing forecast as well as the economic impact study for the high speed railroad in Illinois connecting Chicago to St. Louis. After college, she applied for a program called Challenge Detroit and was selected to be one of the 30 program participants out of the 1000 applicants who applied.

Jenny decided to come back to SF after the program to not only take care of her mother but also to support arts and culture. She cofounded a cultural, communal working space to foster not only small businesses, but also to support local emerging artists. She envisions an inclusive city with working public transportation.

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