Wondering what a changemaker looks like? Meet Evan Avila. He’s a quiet powerhouse who -- in only his junior year -- had already presented his research and ideas to D.C. policymakers and given back to the Baltimore community to the tune of $800,000 in tax refunds through his work with the UMBC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
To top it all off, Evan was named a 2019 recipient of the distinguished Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which awards about one $30,000 scholarship per state to an undergraduate student who, “demonstrates outstanding potential for and who plans to pursue a career in public service.”
Evan’s work is motivated, in no small part, by his own experiences. “I came from a Peruvian and Mexican household. I saw how hard my parents worked and the challenges they faced to have financial security,” he explains. “In college, I see my peers trying to make sense of personal budgets, savings, loans, credit, and retirement. It is very rewarding to help people be financially literate and understand the laws and policies that affect their wallet.”
What’s most incredible is Evan’s hard work and dedication to making this all happen. He’s been making real change all while juggling a full class schedule alongside teaching and research assistantships as well as an on-campus job, internships, and volunteering. And he says he’s been able to do it all because of the community he found at UMBC.