Now comes the chapter generated by a two-semester sprint toward a Masters in Higher & Postsecondary Education (HPSE).
“I knew from reading the mission statement that TC wants to create changemakers in social justice,” Freeman says. “But when I got here, it was embedded in every single course.”
The classroom discussions of topics ranging from the wealth gap to building racial equity in education resonated with Freeman, a Black woman who has risen through the ranks of a military institution with a legacy of white male leadership.
The picture of determination, Freeman – as a 17-year-old – convinced her mother to sign enlistment papers over parental misgivings about joining the army during the post-9/11 ramp-up of operations in the Mideast.
Tenacity again served Freeman in her response to teasing about an assignment as a non-combatant paralegal during her first deployment in Iraq – certification as a weapon-qualified operator of heavy military transports.
Freeman was subsequently promoted to the rank of captain, became a mother and earned an undergraduate degree in communications on the army’s dime.
Following graduation from Louisville’s Bellarmine University Freeman stumbled on education while guiding recruits through basic training.
“I really liked working with that population,” says Freeman. Her ability to connect with young people prompted an assignment as a recruiter on college campuses.
With that, Freeman – who had “never” given so much as a thought to teaching – was on her way to becoming an Assistant Professor of Military Science in the ROTC program at UCLA.
The Texas-born Freeman relished Southern California weather, the UCLA campus and the opportunity to integrate physical fitness and military science until an epiphany - “I thought it would be amazing to end my teaching career at the United States Military Academy” – trained her sights on West Point.
An application was submitted, acceptance followed and last year Freeman, accompanied by her teenage daughter, re-located across the country.
The assignment came with a requirement that Freeman attain a graduate degree in higher ed before stepping before a classroom of USMA cadets.
Given an option of schools at which to pursue the degree, Freeman chose TC and began commuting to campus from West Point last August.
The next and final chapter prior to Freeman retiring from active duty in 2026 will begin to unfold this summer when Freeman introduces the USMA Class of 2026, aka plebes, to the long tradition of West Point customs and rules.
Freeman come fall is scheduled to teach a military science course to which she can now imbue with a perspective beyond strict interpretations of theory and logistics.
“I thought I would learn to become a better teacher,” says Freeman. “But talking so much about social justice taught me to look at the big picture – knowledge I can use to raise awareness at West Point.”