Garland ISD

Rowlett Woman First in Garland ISD History to Receive Rhodes Scholarship

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Two students from Texas received Rhodes Scholarships this year, the academic best of the best from around the world.

One of those Texans is from Rowlett, who has big dreams to help the community, breaking down racial barriers and serve her country.

Growing up in the Dallas suburb, Evan Walker loved playing with her cousins.

"We'd make toy guys, out of like, toilet paper rolls and little things around the house, woodblocks, we'd get out and we'd play army," she said.

As Walker matured over the years, it wasn't a big surprise, but was a huge accomplishment when she was accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"I knew I wanted to help people and travel the world and I wasn't really sure what type of job I could do that in, but military. They go around and help people and I was like 'Ok, I'll join the military,'" she said.

Her mother, Teresa, a teacher in Garland ISD, admits she pushed her daughter to always do her best, making Walker and her brother do school work during the summer.

"Growing up they were like 'why are we doing work in the summer?' but those things pay off," Teresa said. "She's been maintaining a high GPA, those stars on her collar, that's evidence that she is. It means academic excellence, she's thriving."

The hard work is now earning Walker a spot as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, the most prestigious scholarship in the world. She's the first student from Garland ISD to receive one.

Walker joins one of the most diverse classes in the history of the scholarship, something as an African-American woman she doesn't take lightly.

"Not seeing many people in leadership positions look like me and that makes you question if I'm capable of doing it, are your skills enough, and of course we are. But seeing it is really important," she said.

Walker wants to work as a military intelligence officer and maybe in the EEOC helping to ensure equity in hiring practices across the country. 

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