Langston Evans says that he is really excited to be honored with The College Station’s 2021 College Access Champion Award, which was recently presented to him for his “dedication to supporting and empowering young people to achieve their education dreams.”

“I’m really happy that our community has an award like this and really recognizes college access and the importance of it,” Evans, the Madison Metropolitan School District’s AVID District Coordinator, tells Madison365. “I’m certainly honored to receive this award and I accept it on the behalf of the collective work that we all have done. We’ve done a lot, but there is so much more to be done.”

Each year, The College Station recognizes and honors the outstanding contributions local individuals make in advancing college access and educational success for underrepresented and underserved students.  

“A few years ago, The College Station decided to create an award to really recognize the great work of folks, particularly in the Dane County area, who were really advancing college access in support of underrepresented and underserved students,” Derek Johnson, founder of The College Station, tells Madison365. “It’s a great opportunity to highlight someone from our area who is dedicated to ensuring that students have the tools and resources to be able to navigate the very complicated college admissions and college decision process.”

The College Station provides underserved students and families with the knowledge and access to information and resources needed to navigate the college search, admissions, and financial aid process. The organization presented the award to Evans virtually at this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual College Summit on Jan. 16.

“We were originally going to skip the year considering everything that is going on right now but after serious consideration, we decided to move forward with that because it is still very important for our young people to have the opportunity to explore college and understand how it works and have that space to answer whatever questions they wanted to,” Johnson says.

Johnson, who is assistant director of outreach at the UW-Madison College of Engineering, adds that he has known Evans for quite some time and has always been impressed with his dedication to Madison-area young people.

“We did some work together back in the day – in the early years – when I was at Edgewood [College] and he was at Boys and Girls Club AVID/TOPS program. I saw from the very beginning his real dedication to helping students find a way to college,” Johnson says.

Evans has previously won the Madison Metropolitan’s Distinguished Service Award for his work with the AVID/TOPS partnership.

“I’m really happy that the community believes that this is something worth celebrating. What we celebrate as a community are the things that actually matter,” Evans says. “To get an award from Derek, who is such a role model in our community, is special. I love the way that he has demonstrated his leadership in focus and compassion within our community having been involved in a variety of aspects. He has always given back and has been passionate about helping those who need help the most. 

“It is even more rewarding to get recognized by people who actually know you and know the work and have done the work with you,” he adds. “It means more when it’s not simply somebody who is reading a resume, but understands your heart and understands why.”

The College Station’s College Access Champion Award is a relatively new award. Evans is the second person to win it after Joselyn Diaz-Valdes, who serves as the FASTrack & BANNER Manager for the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).

“I’ve talked to many young people who Langston has played an instrumental role in their lives and I continue to hear great things on how he was instrumental in getting them to where they are now,” Johnson says. “It was a great honor to recognize him in this way and we were super excited to do that. 

“Langston truly represents the spirit of the award. He is really doing the work and not necessarily getting the recognition that he deserves,” Johnson adds. “I know it was very exciting and humbling to recognize Langston as it was for the rest of the committee as well.”

Evans is a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and has served as the Wisconsin State Representative for the fraternity since 2012.  He earned his bachelor’s of arts degree in anthropology and biology from Iowa State University and masters of arts degree in Education Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

“What I really enjoy about what I do is when I see the lights in students’ and families’ eyes when they breakthrough … When they reach beyond what they thought they could,” Evans says. “That’s the total payment right there. That is so rewarding.”