By Dan Murphy
Perhaps the biggest surprise for Margret “Maggie” Van Scoy, since assuming the role of the city’s neighborhood liaison for Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway-Kenmore, and Mission Hill, she said, has been realizing “just how much we can do on the city level.”
Case in point: Van Scoy, who started in this position on July 18,“with a little bit of training and onboarding beforehand,” said she took an “impromptu walkthrough” of the Beacon Hill neighborhood soon after arriving on the job, which reaped near-immediate results.
“I took photos for the 3-1-1 app,” she said, “and a week or two later, I saw gas-lamps were being fixed, and people started having meetings about the sidewalks.”
Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Van Scoy graduated from Tufts University in 2021, with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, as well as a minor in Economics.
As an undergrad student, she interned with then-City Councilor Michelle Wu from early 2019 through the summer of that year. She worked on various initiatives in this role to address equity issues in the city, including Boston’s Green New Deal — a plan to mitigate the threat of climate change in the city – and the #unfairhikes direct action, a citywide movement comprising 300 volunteers and 50 elected officials, all rallying for affordable public transit and calling for action regarding safety concerns on the T.
Van Scoy credits this internship experience for helping to prepare her for her current role with the city.
“Something really exciting for me is in college, I studied international relations and learned what the federal government can do,” she said. “When I started as an intern for [then] Councilor Wu, I got the perspective that at the city level, we can do so much and really make impactful changes. Seeing the progress on that level was really inspiring. So when I have this opportunity to connect residents with city services, and to get to know the neighborhoods and know the issues in these neighborhoods, I can think of creative solutions to the problems that impact those residents.”
After graduating from Tufts, Van Scoy joined the staff of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), where she co-led a team of 10 young adults providing disaster relief services across the southern region of the United States. She was stationed in Mississippi and spent stints that each lasted about two months working in North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Louisiana; and West Virginia, respectively.
“AmeriCorps was hands-on, and I was looking to do something different from an academic setting,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to see parts of the country I’d never seen before, to engage with these communities, and to learn how to identify what’s important to them and how to play a role in supporting those neighborhoods.”
Now, in her current role with the city, Van Scoy is already having a similar impact on the neighborhoods she serves.
“Maggie’s dedication and commitment to the community is incredibly inspiring,” said Director of Neighborhood Services Enrique Pepen. “Since Day One, she has prioritized meeting with community leaders and businesses, and familiarizing herself with her various neighborhoods. She is devoted to her role and responds to all inquiries with the same level of urgency and passion. We are lucky to have Maggie as a member of our team and I encourage residents to reach out to her with any questions or concerns.”
As for Van Scoy, she is pleased to be seeing the results of her work.
“I’ve been on the job about two months, and it’s really nice to see that response, and to see the progress starting to happen,” she said.
Margaret “Maggie” Van Scoy encourages constituents to reach out to her with their comments and concerns via email at [email protected].