Talithia Williams

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Talithia Williams
Nationality United States
Alma materPh.D., Rice University, 2008
Known forSpatial–temporal modeling of rainfall data
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvey Mudd College
Doctoral advisorKatherine Bennett Ensor

Talithia Williams is an American statistician and mathematician at Harvey Mudd College who researches the spatiotemporal structure of data.[1][2] She was the first black woman to achieve tenure at Harvey Mudd College.[2] Williams is an advocate for engaging more African Americans in engineering and science.[3]


Her educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Spelman College, Master's degrees in both Mathematics from Howard University and Statistics from Rice University, and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Rice University.[4] Dr. Williams was in one of the first EDGE cohorts.[5]

Career and research[edit]

Williams has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the National Security Agency (NSA), and NASA.[1][6] She is an associate professor of mathematics and also serves as Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning at Harvey Mudd College.[7][1][6] She has served as coordinator for the EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) summer program for women, and on the boards of the MAA and SACNAS.[1] Williams has done significant outreach, with the goal of bringing mathematics to life and "rebranding the field of mathematics as anything but dry, technical or male-dominated but instead a logical, productive career path that is crucial to the future of the country."[4][8]

Williams has developed statistical models focused on understanding the structure of spatiotemporal data, with environmental applications.[1][9] She has partnered with the World Health Organization in developing a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for countries in Africa.[9]

Williams was a host of the six part PBS series NOVA Wonders in April 2018.[10] She is the author of the book Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics (Race Point Publishing, 2018).[11][12]

TED talk[edit]

In 2014, Williams gave a highly viewed TED talk titled "Own Your Body's Data," discussing the potential insights to be gained from collecting personal health data.[2]


In 2015 Williams received the MAA Henry L. Alder Award for exemplary teaching by an early career mathematics professor.[13] Williams was honored by the Association for Women in Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America, when they selected her to be the AWM/MAA Falconer Lecturer at MathFest 2017 in Chicago, IL.[14] The title of her talk is "Not So Hidden Figures: Unveiling Mathematical Talent."


  1. ^ a b c d e "Talithia Williams, Harvey Mudd College - AWM Association for Women in Mathematics". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  2. ^ a b c Paoletta, Rae. "These Black Female Mathematicians Should Be Stars in the Blockbusters of Tomorrow". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  3. ^ Klawe, Maria. "Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  4. ^ a b "Talithia Williams : Harvey Mudd College". www.math.hmc.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  5. ^ "EDGE: A Program for Women in Mathematics - THE EDGE PROGRAM". THE EDGE PROGRAM. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  6. ^ a b Williams, Talithia. "Talithia Williams | Speaker | TED.com". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  7. ^ "Mathematics Faculty". Harvey Mudd Department of Mathematics. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Talithia Williams | Book for Speaking, Events and Appearances". www.apbspeakers.com. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  9. ^ a b "Mosaic: Talithia Williams - Mackinac Gazette - Grand Valley State University". www.gvsu.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  10. ^ "Meet Talithia Williams". NOVA Wonders. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  11. ^ Stenger, Allen (August 2018). "Review of Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics". MAA Reviews.
  12. ^ "Williams' Book Highlights Female Mathematicians". Harvey Mudd College News. June 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "Henry L. Adler Award". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Invited Lectures at MathFest 2017". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 10 April 2017.