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Talithia  Williams

Talithia Williams

Big Data Expert, Professor, & Host of Nova Wonders


Renowned for her popular TED Talk, "Own Your Body's Data", Dr. Talithia Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts and makes them understandable to a wide audience. 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 fields. Read More >

Dr. Williams is a host of the PBS series NOVA Wonders, a mini-series that promotes the study of science and diversity in the STEM fields. Williams has delivered speeches nationally and internationally on the value of statistics in quantifying personal health information. She has made it her life's work to get students, parents, educators and community members more excited about the possibilities inherent in a STEM education.  

She also appears in NOVA’s “Prediction by the Numbers,” a series exploring the history of probabilities with the intention of explaining the growth of mathematical thinking through the history of gambling. Dr. Williams conducts an experiment on the show, which Forbes called, “an entertaining, fun piece that conveys her knowledgeable and deep interest in this predictive method.”

In 2015, she won the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member, which honors faculty members whose teaching is effective and extraordinary, and extends its influence beyond the classroom.

Dr. Talithia Williams is Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning and an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Spelman College, a master’s degree in Mathematics from Howard University and her Ph.D. in Statistics from Rice University. Her professional experiences include research appointments at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the National Security Agency.

Dr. Williams develops statistical models which emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and has partnered with the World Health Organization in developing a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for countries in Africa. Through her research and work in 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. She is active in her faith community and serves with her husband as a Christian marriage mentor couple, all while being the mom of three amazing boys. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Meet Talithia Williams

TEDTalk: Own Your Body's 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