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Jon Chan

BA '12 - Complex Systems and Emergent Behavior

A quintessential Gallatin student, Jon has interests both in and outside of the classroom that span a variety of areas. He quickly discovered that the underlying thread connecting all of his interests is the exploration of complex systems—organizations that are essentially decentralized, but coalesce to exhibit emergent behavior. Over the course of his studies at Gallatin, Jon tackled questions about how natural selection is possible, what drives life-like behavior of artificial systems in computer science, and why market economies function in a predictable ways. As a result, he delved deeply into philosophy of science, computer science, economics, and literature to seek out how vastly complex systems made up of many distinct parts can exhibit emergent
behavior as a whole.

Outside of his studies, Jon was involved in an array of activities. As president of the Gallatin Business Club (GBC), he saw the organization’s membership grow from 80 students to over 500 in just four months. In connection with the GBC, he also started the Albert Gallatin Founder’s Fund, NYU’s first student-run entrepreneurship competition. His other involvements included serving on the board of the NYU Mock Trial team as it was a national champion in 2010, serving on the board of the largest student technology startup group, Tech@NYU, and representing NYU as an Admissions Ambassador for four years. By the end of his time at Gallatin, Jon was recognized as one of the first university leadership honors students in 2011, as a university nominee for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2012, and recipient of Gallatin's highest academic honor, the Gallatin Special Service Award. He is now working as a consultant with Deloitte Digital.