Graduate Success Series: Joey Evans '18

Graduate Success Series: Joey Evans '18

Monday, August 13, 2018

After touring numerous schools, Joey Evans knew that Midland University was home. A graduate of Millard West High School in Omaha, NE, Joey was seeking a college where he could major in Business Marketing, where classroom sizes were small overall, and where he could really get to know his peers and establish close relationships with faculty members. He desired to be involved on campus, to continue playing a sport he loved – basketball, and to learn from a great basketball coach, as well. Midland met all of his requirements. In the fall of 2014, Joey began his college career as a student-athlete at Midland. His interest in business, specifically in the marketing and sales aspects, led him to choose his major in Business Administration - Marketing, with dual minors in Biology and Coaching. 

Through job shadowing and internships, he was able to narrow down his industry focus.  His instructors speak highly of his academic performance and character. When asked about Joey, Marketing Instructor Nick Schreck said, “Joey Evans was the kind of student you knew was going to be successful. He wanted to be challenged, he worked diligently to meet those challenges, and he always exceeded expectations. Joey engaged in class, led his peers during group work, asked questions, and was always seeking ways to improve. I tasked Joey with a client for a class that was especially challenging from two fronts: the client was in Vietnam and the client was very knowledgeable on social media. Most students worked with local clients that were just learning pieces of social media, but Joey’s was well versed in nearly every aspect. Joey had to work harder at learning the material and communicate despite an incredible time difference between him and his client. As expected, Joey delivered a great project and his client was happy with the results. His work ethic has inspired others, but his character and personality have really helped him stand out. He’s genuinely interested in the wellbeing of others and goes out of his way to get to know someone.”

Dr. Chintamani S. Manish, Professor of Biology, echoed the above sentiments. “Joey Evans was one of the most active and engaged students I have ever come across in all my years of teaching. A question he posed in a Principles of Biology class surprised me because he had stepped outside the box and looked at the topic of photosynthesis in a way that no student had done before in any of my classes. I instantly developed a deeper respect for his alertness and attention to detail. Students like Joey are the reason why teaching is a joyous calling. During his college career, Joey continued to be a success inside and outside the classroom, and I look forward to seeing how far he goes.” 

As an involved student on campus, Joey met many students who shared some of his same passions and interests. During his freshman year, he enjoyed playing the League of Legends video game in his dormitory room. Soon other students were joining him. By his sophomore year, many students were playing League of Legends in his hall. They decided to revive the Gaming Club at Midland. Gaming, they found, was a great way to forge new relationships among students, build community, and relieve stress. By the end of his sophomore year, this group was getting noticed. Merritt Nelson, VP of Student Affairs, met with Joey and asked him about gaming. Midland’s President Jody Horner and Nelson were very interested in establishing eSports as an intercollegiate sport at Midland as a new way for a diverse group of students to complete at a collegiate level, be engaged and involved. Merritt invited Joey to conduct a presentation about eSports to Midland University’s Senior Leadership Team. 

“[Presenting to Senior Leadership] was so much fun! I had the opportunity apply what I was learning in my business and marketing courses, create my own presentation, and to be the expert in eSports - selling the concept and business of it as a viable intercollegiate sport.” His presentation was successful, and it was announced that eSports would officially become an intercollegiate sport at Midland in fall of 2016. Following the announcement, construction began on a state-of-the-art gaming arena. “The news that Midland University was the first college in Nebraska to offer eSports as an official sport”, Joey said, “spread like wildfire.”  Joey, a Diamond 5-ranked League of Legends player, became a student-coach and spokesperson for this new program. The announcement made local and national news and was even featured in Sports Illustrated. “The experience of helping to envision, sell, implement, and promote a new sport at Midland helped me develop my marketing and leadership skills. It gave me the opportunity to experience the coaching side, as well as, the player side of the college experience.”

A “legend” in his own right, Joey’s involvement did not stop at eSports or basketball. Beginning his sophomore year, he was chosen to be a Resident Advisor for Beegle Hall at Midland, responsible for creating a safe and engaging community for freshmen hall residents. Joey credited this experience with helping him to hone his strengths and developing his talent to become a sales and marketing professional. “I learned to deal with people from diverse backgrounds and from all over the world, how to resolve problems, how to be more adaptive, how to include and respect others, and how to read people and customize solutions to their needs.” He was also a volunteer basketball coach and worked as a part-time server at a restaurant in Omaha while in college. 

Joey’s advice to Midland and all college students is to be as involved as you can. "Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Doing this," he says, "helps students to be engaged, to make new friends, and to discover new interests and talents they never knew they had. It also makes campus more fun." He also advises students to seek out mentors. “Everyone needs someone to look up to. I hope to be a mentor to others someday!” Joey also encourages students to take advantage of the resources in the Personal & Career Development Center at Midland University. “The PCDC helped me craft a professional and job-specific resume and prepare for future interviews. Having the PCDC as a resource gave me a sense of confidence and security when going into interviews that I could not have achieved on my own.” 

When asked about his mentors, Joey commended Tom Reilly, Head Athletic Trainer at Midland who had this to say about Joey, “Joey is truly a fine individual who will be very successful in life. Through the conversations we have had over the years, if there was any impact made by me, it was in helping him to realize his overall dreams, ambitions, objectives, and goals. Through his actions, he has made a lasting impression on me, the coaches who have worked with him, as well as on Midland University.”

A May 2018 graduate, Joey will begin his professional career as a Business Development Representative at Buildertrend Inc. in Omaha, a company which developed and provides cloud-based residential construction software. He looks forward to building a strong professional foundation in sales and marketing and marrying his long-time girlfriend in June of 2019. Five years from now, he hopes to have started a family and to be a parent who is very involved in his children’s lives. He wants to have a home in the suburbs of Omaha, much like the home in which he grew up. He desires to be a steady professional who makes a positive impact daily. Considering his track record at Midland, he is on the path to reaching and exceeding all of those goals.