Wellons, medical who has been a Prince George’s County resident for 19 years, wants to help solve a range of challenges to improve the quality of life in the county. The process involves exploring new approaches, making the county relevant to the 21 to 45-year-old demographic, and advocating for opportunities for county residents to have priority in various areas, such as contracting, employment and opportunities to start their own businesses within Prince George’s County.
While utilizing PGCSIF as a catalyst for social impact, Wellons’ vision grew into one of the first initiatives. The Forty UNDER 40 Prince George’s County Award was launched as a project under the nonprofit. Talented county residents who are all under the age of 40 at the time of recognition have been highlighted since 2012. A celebration honoring the 40 new cohorts who were recently announced will be held at Newton White Manor in Mitchellville on Feb. 4 during the Forty Under 40 Awards Ceremony.
Juwan Blocker, 17, is this year’s youngest awardee and received rare recognition within the public service sector, considering his young age. Additionally, honorees are recognized for contributions made in Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Health and Fitness, and Science and Engineering sectors.
“We look for accomplishment relative to age, we look at community engagement, and if it’s not community service and it’s not in Prince George’s County directly, just that you’ve been able to contribute through service over time. We look at reputation and character, which are very important traits for us. And then we look at background and skills and look if it’s relevant to what Prince George’s County needs,” Wellons said, explaining how nominees are selected by an advisory board. “One of our core motivations is to identify top talent and then make them available so that the rest of the community can benefit from them, particularly serving on boards of directors for nonprofit organizations.”
Courtney Foster was honored as a Forty UNDER 40 Prince George’s County 2013 honoree. She nominated 39-year-old Andrea H. Evans of Laurel for 2016.
Evans was selected for her Science and Engineering accomplishments. Foster said both she and Evans attended Spelman College in Georgia. Additionally, Evans is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Also a registered patent attorney, Evans graduated from George Washington University Law School and started The Law Firm of Andrea Hence Evans, LLC eight years ago. Since many of her clients are located outside of Maryland, Evans operates a virtual office. She specializes in patent, trademark and copyright law.
“I definitely felt excited and honored to be a part of the Forty UNDER 40 class,” Evans said. “This community has so many leaders. It is such as honor to be selected as one of the leaders in the community.”
Evans, who is multi-talented, is also the founder and owner of KidGINEER, LLC. The fun, creative program is based in Prince George’s County and provides hands-on science and enrichment programs for children ages five to ten to accelerate their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Scientists and engineers teach classes and over 300 children have participated in the program.
In 2014, Evans was recognized by the White House as a White House Champion of Change for her STEM Access and Diversity contributions.
“I started the program six years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten and I actually come from a family of scientists and engineers and grew up participating in a lot of hands-on engineering programs in Houston,” Evans said. “When my daughter was in kindergarten, I wanted to get her involved in science, but couldn’t find a program and that’s how I formed KidGINEER, LLC. So it originally started at her elementary school as an after school program.
“I did some research and learned that by the third grade, a child loses interest in science and math and I felt compelled to do something to make difference, especially since I want my own child to hopefully pursue a STEM career.”
Evans’ daughter, who is now in the sixth grade, has participated in the program since kindergarten. She aspires to become an engineer.
Evans is making a difference in the lives of other youth like Lauren Foster by exciting them about education and STEM. Foster had many opportunities to participate in KidGINEER, LLC at Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex in Laurel. Her mother credits Evans for starting the program and accomplishing other professional achievements.
“It made it kind of a no-brainer, as far as what they’re looking for with the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund in a Forty UNDER 40 candidate,” Foster said. “I think (Forty UNDER 40 Prince George’s County) is great, because it highlights younger people doing really good things in the county in different areas.”
To learn more about all of this year’s Forty UNDER 40 Prince George’s County honorees, visit www.innovateprincegeorges.org.