Evangeline Gilmer, a recent St. Charles High School graduate, recently earned a National Merit Scholarship

A St. Charles High School graduate will be heading to Harvard University in the fall, and among her many honors is a National Merit Scholarship.

Evangeline Gilmer, who is set to graduate third in her class at St. Charles’s ceremony on Friday, May 28, was named one of 7,500 winners of the $2,500 scholarship. Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. screens about 1.5 million qualifying students. Of those, only about 16,000 students will be named semifinalists based on their PSAT scores and other achievements.

Earlier this year, Gilmer said she was honored to be a semifinalist for the scholarship. “I am grateful to my teachers and three principals I have had throughout my years of school for always encouraging me to work hard and aim high,” she said.

Gilmer will attend Harvard with plans to major in neuroscience. She has been interested in the medical field since she was 8 years old. “I think I’ve always had a natural love for science and medicine, and I think it’s my purpose in life to serve others,” she said. Gilmer volunteers at the University of Maryland Regional Medical Center where she maintains records and assists patients. At St. Charles, she was a member of the We the People team, National Honor Society and the Red Cross Club.

When she carves out free time, most of Gilmer’s hobbies include music. “I think my commitment to music might be a little more than what would qualify as a hobby,” she said. “But it’s definitely the biggest thing I do outside of school.” She has played the violin for 13 years, the piano for about 14 years and the flute for eight. Gilmer is the concertmaster for the Charles County Youth Orchestra and won the Charles County Youth Orchestra 2020 Concerto Competition. She was named to the Maryland Junior All State Band twice and took part in the National Philharmonic Summer Strings Institute.

It’s not all studying and practice — Gilmer is a confirmed Star Wars fan. Far, far away from just the movie franchise, Gilmer devours novels, comics and shows set in the Star Wars-verse. And like so many, she finds herself browsing Instagram and YouTube.

Gilmer was honored by the Board of Education in April during the student recognition portion of the meeting. At that time, St. Charles Principal Richard Conley said Gilmer is a “once in a lifetime student.”

With high school almost officially over — St. Charles kicks of the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) high school graduations on Friday, May 28 — Gilmer is looking forward to moving to Cambridge to begin college. “I am very excited about going to Harvard and am looking forward to having the freedom to sign up for classes that completely fit my interests,” she said. “Besides that, my classes will be taught by world-class professors, and I am hoping to do research with professors who are leaders and pioneers in their fields.”

Before classes start, Gilmer hopes to travel a bit. She and her family have crisscrossed the country on summer road trips for as long as she remembers — they visited every state in the U.S., save five. She hopes to get to North Dakota this summer. After that, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon are up next.   

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