Graduate profile: Trina Locklear
Trina Locklear has had a full plate while working toward a master’s degree in software engineering at East Carolina University.
Locklear, a Robeson County native and a member of the Lumbee tribe, earned her first degree at UNC Pembroke in 1998, double majoring in political science and philosophy and religion. After returning to Pembroke for a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2016, she said it was a rite of passage to continue her education at ECU, and the university’s focus on serving rural areas of the state played an important role in her decision as well.
“I have a brother, a niece and two cousins that have attended and graduated from ECU,” she said. “My family is very familiar with ECU and were all pleased with the school and their respective departments of study, as am I.”
Work and service have played a key role in Locklear’s time at ECU. She has worked as a technician at Joyner Library and as a graduate assistant with the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, where she oversaw the Williams Scholars program as well as the Adopt-A-Grandparent program, for which she recruited students to sponsor seniors at McGregor Downs.
“Having come from a public service background where I was the program coordinator for a federal volunteer program called Senior Corps, I was excited and prepared,” she said.
Recruiting for the program was a challenge that was well worth it, she said, and she had the highest number of participating students to date. On top of that, she volunteered to be a research assistant on a project using IoT (internet of things) technology to develop smart work zones for the N.C. Department of Transportation, and has also traveled the state recruiting students for the Department of Computer Science.
This fall, Locklear will begin a doctoral program in computer science at the University of Alabama under a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellowship in cybersecurity. She hopes to someday teach computer science or work for a federal agency such as the National Security Agency.