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Black History Month
2017 Honoree

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Linda Hayden

Linda Hayden

Background: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the Cavalier Manor section of Portsmouth, Virginia.

An experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences;

The librarian at the Colored Community Library in Portsmouth would request mathematics books from the main library, which we could not go to because of segregation. Librarian Bertha Edwards would ride her bicycle with a basket on front to pick the books up for us. She brought us calculus, trigonometry and analytic geometry books that would not otherwise be available to us. High School teachers provided after school opportunities to prepare for local mathematics competitions through which I received a scholarship to attend Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va. There I studied under Drs. Reuben McDaniel, E. Louise Stokes Hunter, Walter Elias and Emma Smith. They gave me the Freshman Mathematics of the Year Award and encouraged me to continue on to graduate school. After receiving a Masters degree in Mathematics Education and a second Masters degree in Computer Science, I was invited to study for the PhD in Mathematics under Dr. Mary Gray at American University.

Most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences;

  • Contribution to science :I have had the pleasure of working with world-class scientist and researchers, which resulted in discoveries of new geographic features. This resulted from a research project, led by Dr. Malcolm LeCompte, to quantify ice margin changes in the Amundsen Sea region using LIMA as a benchmark. We discovered a small ice shelf that had gradually shrunk from 1972 to 2003 and has failed to reform. The feature is a former ice shelf occupying an embayment along the southern side of Canisteo Peninsula 12.5 miles north of Suchland Islands and approximately 20 miles north northwest of Cranton Bay. The feature was named by the US-Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (ACAN) Board of Geographic Names (BGN) for Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Very few universities have geographic features named in honor of their research efforts.
  • Contribution to STEM education:In 2003, The National Science Foundation awarded me the Presidential Award of Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. That award represents a career that has funded over a thousand underrepresented students to receive a B.S. degree in STEM, hundreds of STEM graduate degrees including dozens of PhD degrees awarded to my students. In addition to scholarships, travel grants have afforded students opportunities to conduct and present their research on every continent including Antarctica, Australia and Africa. I am proud to have organized and funded the annual Celebration of Women in Mathematics, which has each year engaged 400 girls and their teachers in mathematics competition, seminars and career development activities for the past 22 years. Doing the math… that means well over 8,000 girls in Northeastern North Carolina have participated in this event and been inspired to continue their mathematics studies.

Most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life;

I am very proud to be the wife of Lee Vertner Hayden Jr. and the mother of Kuchumbi Lin Hayden (Chenequa, wife) and to have two bonus kids Lee V. Hayden III and Tammy Lee Hayden. I love my family and our time together.

Any words of wisdom/inspiration.

Take as much mathematics and science as you possibly can. In fact you should DEMAND MATHEMATICS!! The problem solving skills and discipline learned will profit you well in whatever field you choose to pursue.