Like many other research mathematicians and scientists, Freda Porter Locklear wants to make a name for herself in her field. In the field of computational mathematics and computer modeling, she has already created a body of work that places her in the top of her field. As a Native American, Freda also serves as a role model for young people in her community and for other young mathematicians and students in general. Achieving such high stature has taken a great deal of work and commitment over many years.
Freda and her family have worked together for her success. After she earned her bachelor's degree from Pembroke State College in her hometown of Pembroke, North Carolina, Freda went to graduate school, first at North Carolina State University and then at Duke University. For many years she commuted between her home and school, spending several days at a time at school, away from her husband and son. Despite the tough schedule, her family agrees that it was worthwhile: Freda is one of only twelve Native-American women to have earned a Ph.D. in mathematics. She points out that the field of computational mathematics has not included many minorities, and she has helped to open the field for other women and Native Americans. Freda continues to divide her time between her academic community and her home and family, working on a postdoctoral degree at the University of North Carolina.
Freda is active in several national organizations that promote the study of mathematics and support women and Native Americans in the field. In Pembroke, Freda has taken steps to support the continuing education of young people in her community by establishing a campus chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at Pembroke State University. As she plans her career goals, she continues to consider her research and the ways in which she can help her community.
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