Grad discovered passion for community involvement through NWOSU programs
Jordan Evans, a Northwestern Oklahoma State University and University of Central Oklahoma graduate, values establishing efficient government services and solving community problems. Evans earned a history degree from NWOSU and a Master of Public Administration from UCO. Growing up in Edmond, Oklahoma, Evans’ primary interest was cross country and track. After arriving at NWOSU, he discovered his passion for local government and community.
“At Northwestern, I felt more a part of my community. It’s a smaller school that allowed me to be independent, but still be close to home,” Evans said. “I ran cross country all four years, and my interests broadened from there. I worked for the university newspaper, served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and even performed in a play. I don’t think I could have branched out as much at a larger university.”
During student government activities and working at the social science department, Evans found a new passion for making a difference through civic engagement.
“I worked in the social science department as a student assistant for the department chair, Dr. Kay Decker,” Evans said. “Dr. Decker created a means for us to get involved in a really hands-on way and set the example through her own engagement in the community.”
After graduating from NWOSU, Evans joined the private sector but soon felt called to public service and began seeking out new opportunities. He worked for a state agency - the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education - while working towards his master’s degree in Public Administration at UCO.
Today, Evans works at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments as an associate transportation planner. His department at ACOG provides regional transportation planning, air quality outreach, and local coordination to help communities build a safe and effective transportation network. One of his current projects, Watch For Me OK, seeks to educate the public on the rules of the road and aims to keep residents safe while traveling. The program is increasing the overall visibility of pedestrian and bicyclist safety issues through public service messages and community engagement efforts. This long-term safety campaign is a potentially life-saving project and is precisely the impact Evans hoped to have on his community since turning to public service.
“I care a lot about this community,” Evans said. “I love Oklahoma City, and I really enjoy living here. I like having an impact on these issues I care about; we have a long way to go in Oklahoma City to make biking and walking safer, but any piece I can play in improving this is really fulfilling.”
Outside of work, Evans volunteers with OKC Beautiful, a beautification and sustainability non-profit in Oklahoma City. He also volunteers with the Urban Land Institute on their programs committee, focusing on land use, transportation, and economic development.
Evans is an example of the successful young leaders RUSO schools graduate each year. With the help of NWOSU and UCO, Evans was able to complete two degrees affordably, and make major changes to his community for the better.
“You’re able to get hands-on experience in these schools; you’re not in a giant auditorium trying to learn. You get to know your professors on a personal level and can get out into the community,” Evans said. “Regional universities are a huge asset to their students, the state, and the communities where they are located.”
Jordan Evans and his wife, Natalie, walk their dogs.