Legacy Scholarship propels construction engineering alum

Monday, January 11, 2021

ASU Legacy Scholar and 2017 alumna Nicole Evans says Arizona State University felt like home the moment she walked on campus in 2010 for the first time.  

“I was only a freshman in high school that year touring colleges with my sister, who was a senior,” Evans said. “It was the only tour where you could feel how much the students loved being there, and I wanted to be part of that.”

A few years later, Evans became a Sun Devil herself, following in her sister Donna’s footsteps. She received a Legacy Scholarship from the ASU Alumni Association, which provides financial support for relatives of ASU graduates. Her sister was the first person in her family to graduate as a Sun Devil.

“The Legacy Scholarship helped propel me to do things I had never done and did not think were possible,” she said. “The word ‘legacy’ in general carries a substantial weight for me.”

By earning her degree at ASU, Evans carried on her own family’s tradition. She comes from generations of family members who completed some historic “firsts,” and she has always been compelled to continue building on that legacy.

For Evans, being the first person — and woman — in the family to be in the construction industry is a point of pride, and she hopes her accomplishments inspire her younger cousins to work hard and pursue their dreams.

“Since Donna’s graduation, my godbrother and I graduated from ASU, and we both hope to continue the tradition with the next generation,” she said.

In addition to studying and working at an internship during her time as an undergraduate student, Evans also played an active role in the ASU community. She served in various leadership positions with the Student Alumni Association (SAA) and eventually became the student organization’s president. She describes her college experience as cinematic due to her involvement in SAA.

One of her favorite college memories was planning and participating in an SAA event for the children of ASU alumni.

“There was something special and nostalgic about watching future Sun Devils grow up, climbing ‘A’ mountain, and taking part in the first ASU tradition of their own at Finger Paint the ‘A,’ ” she said.

Evans studied construction engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and was an honors student.

“My ASU experience was truly something I will never forget,” she said. “I had the privilege of being a student within Barrett, The Honors College, which pushed me to be a global thinker.”

During her freshman year while she was coordinating a community service event for Advancing Women in Construction, Evans met a volunteer who recommended her as an intern to her first employer. She held the internship with this company throughout her time at ASU, and Evans then continued working with them upon graduation.  

“I spent the first several years of my career working for a commercial general contractor that specialized in gaming and hospitality as a project engineer,” Evans said. “In this role, I was able to work in well-known and historic locations with high-end clients such as Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in the greater Phoenix Area, and Carnival Cruise Line in Southern California.''

After five years with that first company, she was ready to take the next step and become a senior project engineer with Oltmans Construction Co. in Las Vegas. Evans says her career in construction continues to be exciting due to the ever-changing nature of the industry.

The Legacy Scholarship is accepting applications through Feb. 26 for the 2021–2022 academic year.