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Talithia  Williams

Talithia Williams

Big Data Expert & Professor, Math & Statistics


Dr. Talithia Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts, including her specialty field big data, and makes them understandable and relatable to everyone. As illustrated in her popular TedTalk, "Own Your Body's Data," she demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways, using statistics as a way of seeing the world in a new light and transforming our future through the bold new possibilities inherent in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Read More >

As an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, she has made it her life's work to get people —students, parents, educators and community members — more excited about the possibilities inherent in a STEM education. Her research also involves a partnership with the World Health Organization to develop incidence models of cataract for developing countries.

Through her work in the classroom and the community at large, she is helping change the collective mindset regarding STEM in general and math in particular — 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.

For years Williams has partnered with Sacred SISTAHS (Sisters in Solidarity Teaching and Healing Our Spirit) to launch the annual non-profit math conference SESHAT (Seeking Excellence In Science, Healthcare, Arithmetic & Technology) for African American and Hispanic middle and high-school girls and their parents, designed to attract more young girls of color toward STEM careers.

In the teaching arena she inspires students and other instructors to realize the importance of a STEM education, instilling confidence in those who might not otherwise see themselves as "math people." She is a proponent of changing the classroom experience by incorporating technology into her lectures, enhancing student engagement and rewriting the rules of what is taught in the academic environment, and how.

Outside of the classroom, she has delivered speeches tailored to a wide range of audiences within the educational field. Academically, she holds a PhD in Statistics from Rice University and a dual Master's degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Howard University and Rice University, respectively. Her career in research has yielded appointments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Security Agency and NASA. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Own Your Body's Data

TEDTalk: Analyze Your Personal Data

A Mathematical Mindset: Mitigating America’s Achievement Gap

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: The Misapplication of Statistics in Everyday Life

Speech Topics

The Value of a STEM Education

Using Data as a Tool to Ignite Passion for STEM

Transforming the STEM Landscape: A Lesson in Disruptive Innovation

Books & Media


The Women of Mathematics

In The News


Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM

Connect with Talithia Williams