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Evan Avila

Evan Avila
’20 Economics, Political Science
Truman Scholar 2019

UMBC Junior Wins National Public Service Scholarship

April 11, 2019

Evan is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and member of the Honors College, studying economics and political science at UMBC. He is passionate about solving the structural disadvantages that marginalized populations face when trying to achieve long-term financial security. “Evan has taken on what other students might consider “boring” endeavors- income tax preparation, working for the U.S. Census Bureau- and turned them into deeply meaningful experiences, ones that he sees as inextricably linked to empowering people. He cares about people who are invisible to many- immigrants, retirees, the poor,” observes April Householder, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.

In 2018, Evan won a national research competition, the iOme Challenge, with policy solutions for gig workers who lack access to qualified retirement plans. He has since been invited to speak on the subject at several policy conferences, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As President and Site Manager of UMBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), Evan deters predatory tax preparers by training students to prepare free income taxes for over 500 low-income households in the Baltimore area. Evan is has also interned at the U.S. Census Bureau and Treasury Department. After graduation, Evan intends to earn a dual JD/LLM in Taxation and pursue a public service career in tax and social insurance policy.

According to Arthur Johnson, former UMBC Provost and Director of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program, “Evan’s selection is a reflection of the significance and relevance of the service activities that UMBC students are providing through programs such as theSondheim Scholars, Shriver Center, Honors College, and many others. It also is further evidence that UMBC’s commitment to civic engagement is alive and well among our students. Among many other expectations, TrumanScholars are expected to become leaders of our nation and communities and we are confident that Evan will fulfill those expectations.”


More past winner’s:

Alicia L. Wilson, ’04
Phyllis A. Nagy, ’85
Donald A. Himes, ’82.


    Truman Selection Committee members for 2018-19:
  • Lori Hardesty, Assistant Director, Shriver Center
  • Laura Hussey, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program
  • Jodi Kelber-Kaye, Associate Director, Honors College
  • Jess Myers, Director, Women’s Center
  • Rehana Shafi, Director, Sherman STEM Teachers Scholars Program
  • Hannah Schmitz, Program Coordinator, Public Service Scholars Program
  • Joby Taylor, Director, Shriver Peaceworker Program
  • Brian Souders, Fulbright program Advisor
  • Stephen Freeland, Director, Individualized Study Program
  • Christine Mallinson, Director, Center for Social Science Scholarship and Professor Language, Literacy & Culture Program
  • David Hoffman, Assistant Director of Campus Life for Civic Agency