I grew up in rural Harnett County, the third child of six of a farming couple. My oldest brother was the first in our extended family to receive a Bachelor degree (from NC State), and I was the second. I was a work-study student at NC State, went to graduate school at UNC, and went home on weekends to work on the farm throughout college and most of graduate school. I majored in Mathematics as an undergraduate and got my PhD in Mathematics in 1979. I taught at Rice University for 8 years and then moved to Duke in 1987, where I have been for most of my career. For more information.