Evan Wise

School: Tyler School of Art and Architecture 
Degree: BS, community development, 2018
Hometown: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 

Growing up in a religious family in South Central Pennsylvania, Evan Wise, TYL ’18, suffered as he kept his gender dysphoria a secret. When he finally came out as transgender at Temple, his family severed all ties. But Wise found support in Philadelphia, and now helps make the world a better place at the intersection of data analysis and community development. 

Destination: Temple 

By the time he was just 8 years old, Wise knew he was part of the LGBTQ community, and he also suspected that his conservative family wouldn’t accept it. As he aged, he realized his school community—a now-shuttered Christian high school near Hershey, Pennsylvania—likely wouldn’t either. 

So, he kept it all inside. 

“It made high school and my life difficult. I was never able to be my true authentic self,” Wise said. “It’s not fun, but it’s not an abnormal experience. A lot of people experience it. And I’m one of the fortunate ones to make it out and survive it.” 

For Wise, heading to Temple for college was more than just a pathway to a profession. It was a life raft. Working at Hershey’s Chocolate World during high school, he heard positive things from coworkers who visited or attended Temple. And he knew he’d find a more accepting community in a big city. 

When it came time to start applying for college, Wise was interested in the uncommon obscure major of community development, an interdisciplinary field that teaches a bevy of hard and soft skills aligned with public administration and urban planning and public service. Temple was one of just a few universities Wise could find that offered the major. A surprise call from then-Department Chair Deborah Howe telling Wise more about the major sealed the decision. He’d be a Temple Owl. 

Connecting the dots 

Even away from the conservative ways of rural Pennsylvania, Wise’s college experience wasn’t easy. Money was tight from the start and became even more so after he came out and began a gender transition heading into his junior year. As he feared, his parents cut off all support and contact. He hasn’t spoken with them since. 

To pay his bills, Wise worked multiple jobs. During his first summer break, Wise would drive to Hershey to work at Chocolate World, then back to Philly to work at a pizza shop, all while also completing an internship.

But he also found help at Temple. During the academic year, he took on student work positions at the Fox School of Business and Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, commuting back and forth by bike or subway while juggling courses. When Jane Frankel, a mentor of Wise’s and then-director of internships and corporate partnerships at Fox, found out, she made a change. 

“She managed to lobby the department to increase my responsibilities so I could get a raise, and I wouldn’t have to work two jobs,” Wise said. “She was one of those people that just kind of always looked out for me. And she was also one of the first adults I came out to as trans. She advocated for me.” 

Evan Wise poses for a photo.
Evan Wise walks down a corridor.

“I remember when I visited Temple the first time, I was like, I think this is the place. I think I’m going to thrive here. I think I’m going to really like being in Philadelphia and being able to be myself.”

–Evan Wise
Data analyst 

Tech transitions 

“I love data and analytics … applying analysis to solve real-world problems,” Wise said. 

In the classroom, he pursued coursework that mentors told him would make him more marketable, picking up minors in political science and general business, and a certificate in geographic information systems. The addition of the technical skills paid off: Since graduation, Wise has worked in data analysis for a series of firms such as PolicyMap and Fourth Economy, working to make the transportation, housing and economic conditions of communities including Philadelphia and Atlantic City more equitable.  

During one project for York County, Pennsylvania, Wise performed data analysis to quantify the benefits of COVID-19 interventions, helping to reveal to county officials how the tough decisions they made improved the lives of county residents. 

Wise has most recently gone to work for the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, where he helps analyze and improve an essential service for Americans. 

“I’ve always wanted a job that makes the world a better place,” Wise said.