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First-Year Student Stories

Natalie Locklear: Goodnight Spotlight

Natalie Locklear, Class of 2025, is very involved at NC State within her major and cultural background. Keep reading to learn more about her experiences at NC State thus far as a Goodnight Scholar!

Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Natalie Locklear and I am currently a sophomore at NC State! I am majoring in environmental sciences with a concentration in ecology. In my free time I love to stay active and be outdoors. Singing and music have always been a passion of mine as well. My favorite instrument to play is the ukulele!

Do you have any extracurriculars you would like to discuss?

Currently I am the secretary for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) on campus. Corresponding with this I am also in the Native American Student Association that meets in the multicultural center every Wednesday! These clubs help to build a community for the Native American students on campus. We do not have a lot of representation of Natives on campus, so by meeting with each other we help one another feel included and help the community to know we are not alone. We host events to spread the word about Indigenous students on campus and our culture, such as Indigenous Peoples Day at NCSU, and we also host a powwow as well. I recently attended the AISES conference in Palm Springs, California, where I was alongside other native students from across the country getting access to career furthering experiences and opportunities. 

What are some of your favorite things about the Goodnight Scholars Program?

My favorite thing about the Goodnight Scholars Program is the welcoming community that it brings into my college experience. From the first time I ever walked into the Goodnight Lounge I was greeted with smiles and warm gestures that made me so excited to be a part of this amazing community. My Goodnight Advisors do everything in their power to help me as a Native scholar. I do not feel secluded or discouraged as one of the few Native scholars in the program. Instead I feel as if I can go to them with any troubles I may have and they will do their best to give me advice and lead me towards an amazing career in the future once I graduate. They have taught me loads of career furthering opportunities such as setting up a linkedin account, to having the proper table manners at a job interview. The Goodnight Scholars Program is a family that I am eternally grateful for being a part of and I love our community. 

How have you been able to connect your racial and ethnic background to your major and involvement at NC State?

Since the Indigenous people’s community on our campus is not that broad, I have been given the opportunity as a Native student to educate my peers of my culture and community. Some people do not even realize that we still exist, and I love being able to change the stereotypical view that a lot of people have about Native Americans with education. Being a part of AISES and NASA on campus has given me the support of a Native community that I never had in my primary and secondary schools. Growing up in a mainly white populated community made me feel as though I did not belong and I was very self critical of myself during these times. But, as I’ve grown older and during my time at NC State I’ve realized that uniqueness and diversity is what makes the world a better place. Appreciating and understanding other cultures while being connected to your own is one of the most eye opening experiences a person can have. One of the issues we are seeing in the Native American community right now that I want to have an impact on is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). This is an epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in Canada, the United States, and Latin America. The lack of communication between state, federal, local, and tribal enforcement make it nearly impossible to start investigative processes once an Indiginous women is labeled missing. Through education and awareness of this epidemic, we as a community and country can make a difference to end this violence against our Native women.

What are your future career and life goals? Do these goals connect to your racial and ethnic background?

My future career goals are to pursue a higher education in environmental sciences with a concentration in ecology. Right now I am exploring the opportunities within research and environmental policies with the possibility of attending law school. I hope to be a part of environmental science internships to explore my future of what I want to use my degree for once I graduate. I am interested in environmental sciences because I believe it is important to not only protect our environment for ourselves, but also for the future generations that deserve to experience the beautiful nature our world has to offer as well. I hope to be able to use my identity as a Native American to become an example to younger generations of Indigenous students that they can chase any dreams that their heart desires. I want future generations of Native students to understand that this generation is open and ready for diversity in the STEM fields and no matter where they come from they have the opportunity to make a difference in our world.

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