Ambitious Public Policy Undergrad Transforms Inspiration into Action

This piece was originally published in Georgia State University’s News Hub on September 9, 2019.

At the start of an August flight from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta, Evan Malbrough (B.S., Public Policy) released a quiet sigh of relief. He finally had a few moments to think about the upcoming speech he would present during Georgia State University’s 2019 Convocation ceremony – as one of a select few members of the Honors College to address the crowd of incoming freshman.

Over the summer, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies rising senior had been focused on completing his internship with the U.S. Department of Defense – something he’d done for the last three years.

While the plane moved away from the nation’s capital, Malbrough knew he was actually getting closer to reaching his ultimate career goals.

“My ideal job would be to serve as a secretary of defense, secretary of state or attorney general on the federal or state level,” he said. “In everything I do, I want to be strategic in addressing systems of inequality.”

That is precisely why he’s been working to align his job aspirations with longstanding social and economic issues.

“I think three things I’m most passionate about are voting rights, inmates’ access to education and mental health policy,” he said. Malbrough has already made an impact in each area, both at and away from Georgia State.

In between classes, he is the communications director for the Student Government Association and a member of the Black Student Alliance. Additionally, his commitment to raising awareness about voter participation as ambassador for Georgia State’s Vote Everywhere has been recognized in Forbes Magazine.

When away from campus, he uses his time to tutor at prisons across metro Atlanta as a volunteer with Common Good ATL.

At the Pentagon, he’s had the opportunity to analyze federal policies and laws through several rotations in the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Office of Personnel and Readiness, Office of General Council for International Law and the Office of Legal Policy.

“It’s important for me to take each of these experiences and leverage them in other departments within or outside of the federal government,” he said. “I’m really trying to learn all that I can.”

Where does his drive come from? It is largely from growing up around changemakers like his parents and Ambassador Andrew Young.

“I saw how active my parents were, and the ways they worked to improve the lives of people in our community.”

He also recalls observing leaders like Young take a sense of responsibility for addressing issues and problems.

“I can remember the ambassador coming to my church several times to preach,” he said. “I was always very inspired by everything he said.”

Beyond Malbrough’s admiration of Ambassador Young, Cynthia Searcy – assistant dean for academic programs and assistant professor of public administration – recognizes a deeper meaning.

“Evan is living the legacy of Ambassador Young in his pursuit of social justice inside and outside the classroom,” she said.

Malbrough has maintained a busy schedule since his freshman year – while also performing as a music minor. “I don’t really feel comfortable unless I’m doing multiple things at once,” he said.

“Ambassador Young likes to say, ‘Don’t get mad, get smart,’ and Evan has applied that principle to issues ranging from criminal justice reform to international diplomacy,” said Searcy.

Striving to become one of the nation’s top leaders may be considered a highly ambitious goal. But for Malbrough, it’s less about the notoriety and more about how to use a prominent position to make meaningful change. It’s also the reason why he isn’t waiting until that happens; he’s using his skills and tenacity to be a changemaker right now.

After all, he epitomizes The State Way!