Class of 2020: Evan Avila

Evan Avila

At UMBC, Evan found his passion for economics and political science. As a first year Sondheim Scholar, Evan served as a volunteer ESL tutor at the Esperanza Center. He formed deeply meaningful connections with his adult students and fellow volunteers alike. While continuing to serve at the Esperanza Center, Evan also became actively involved as a volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Evan quickly discovered his enthusiasm for tax and economic policy, and pursued this interest through a number of internships and projects. Evan has interned with the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2019, Evan was selected for a Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. Evan was named a UMBC Department of Political Science Outstanding Senior, the UMBC Department of Economics’ Outstanding Graduating Senior, and as a recipient of the Honors College Leadership Award.

After graduation, Evan will begin a fellowship with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Finance. In the longer term, Evan plans to attend law school and serve as an attorney for the U.S. government.

What are you most proud of from your time at UMBC? 

Leading a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) free tax clinic that has helped over 800 individuals and families from the Baltimore area with their taxes. We returned close to $1.5 million in tax returns to the local community during my time as President.

What is your most memorable public service experience as a Sondheim Scholar?

Some of my most memorable moments were fun conversations with fellow Scholars on our way back from weekly service at the Esperanza Center and interesting discussions during our first year seminar courses.

What was your favorite Sondheim event?

My favorite events have been the local plays we’ve seen as a group. It served as invaluable bonding time and added to my cultural exposure while in college.

What’s an important thing you learned about the world beyond campus while you were a student at UMBC?

Living a life of public service doesn’t necessarily mean running for office or leading a grassroots campaign. There are so many everyday people who find their own unique ways to lead purposeful lives that create impact for their community and beyond. A life of public service is a choose-your-own-adventure story!