Evan Avila ’20, a UMBC Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar studying Economic and Political Science, was recently named a 2019 Truman Scholar. Evan is the fourth Truman Scholar from UMBC, and the first since 2003. The Congressionally-endowed memorial was established in the name of Harry S. Truman to encourage life in public service. Each year, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation chooses a small number of applicants to receive giving 30k scholarship for ongoing graduate education.
Watch the video above to hear more from Evan!
Originally from Frederick, Maryland, Evan was drawn to UMBC because of the Sondheim scholars program, which fostered his interest in public service. As part of a freshman cohort, he was able to take courses in Public Affairs with other like-minded students. His main public service interests like in tax and social policy, and their intersection. After graduation from UMBC, Evan plans to attend law school and specialize in tax law. Eventually, he sees himself working in DC, for the IRS or Department of Treasury, and eventually working for legislators on Capitol Hill.
To become a Truman Scholar, Evan went through a months-long, highly competitive process. It began in November 2018 when he applied internally for a nomination, and was nominated at the end of the fall semester. In early spring 2019, he applied to the national program, and then underwent an interview as a finalist. On April 5th, he received a call from UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski announcing and congratulating him on his win. This year, roughly 800 students applied once nominated by their university, 200 made it to the finalist round, and 62 students from 58 universities were named Truman Scholars.
Evan has been building an impressive history of public service, before he even applied for the scholarship. Since his freshman year, he has volunteered with the Esperanza Center, which offers English language lessons and other resources to immigrants, and the student-run Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at UMBC, which he now manages. This summer, he will intern with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.