Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

December 2013

OSU-OKC Math Professor Reflects: Three Generations Under the Same Roof

CJ Frederick, Karley Graves and Jack Graves at OSU-0KC.

Pictured is OSU-OKC Associate Professor CJ Frederick, right, with daughter, Karley Graves, and grandson, Jack Graves, at Jack’s recent high school graduation.

Goosebumps ran up OSU-Oklahoma City math professor CJ Frederick’s arms as she reflected on the odds of having both her daughter and her grandson pursuing a degree at the same time and at the same university in which she has invested the last nearly 18 years of her life.

Frederick’s daughter, Karley Graves, studying science at OSU-OKC, is one of the main reasons Frederick began teaching at the university. Grandson, Jack Graves, a recent high school graduate from Edmond Memorial, is pursuing a degree in wind turbine technology.

“It’s just thrilling,” Frederick said about having her family on campus. “They’re both so sweet. They took me out to eat for my birthday and Mother’s Day. I even spent the night at their house on Christmas Eve.”

Working full time and taking nine credit hours, Jack Graves finds time to make it to campus two days a week to complete his degree.

“At this time in the world, education is pretty important. It’s not as easy to get a job as it was in the past. You really have to get a full education to get the job that you want,” Jack Graves said.

Frederick is excited to know that Jack is pursuing a career that he chose for himself and not one that he felt obligated to pursue.

“I didn’t ever push him, but when we get together he gets very frank about what he wants to do,” Frederick said of her grandson. Jack had expressed his desire to pursue wind turbine technology to his grandmother one day while driving in the car. “And I said, ‘Well you know, Jack, there is only one place in Oklahoma you can go.’ And he said, ‘I bet I know where it is.’ That’s when I looked at him and said, ‘It’s at my school.’”

Frederick has spent her last 18 years at OSU-OKC as an adjunct, professor, department head, committee member, tutor and mentor. “I’ve sat on several committees where we got together to try and think of ways to keep students through graduation.

When she began as an adjunct, Frederick knew she would be here long term. Falling in love with the students, faculty and administration, she felt as though OSU-OKC had something other two-year colleges did not.

“I love the people here. Every person, staff and faculty I know, loves their students and goes the extra mile,” she said.

Frederick confessed retirement becomes more appealing as the years go on. “It’s awfully tempting to retire, but everyone says not to do it. ‘You’d be so bored,’ they say.

Still, Jack hopes that his grandmother stays at least until he finishes classes. Frederick said, “Karley told me, ‘Jack says you can’t retire until he finishes.’”

Jack Graves hopes students in his grandmother’s classes will leave knowing how sweet, nice and understanding she is. “That’s why she makes such a great teacher,” he said.

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