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Tiffany  Oliver, PhD

Tiffany Oliver, PhD

Geneticist, Professor, Mentor & TEDx Speaker

Tiffany Oliver, PhD

Geneticist, Professor, Mentor & TEDx Speaker


Dr. Tiffany Oliver is a dynamic motivational speaker, author, professor, and scientist. For almost 20 years, she has captivated audiences with her research and presentations on leadership, persistence, and excellence. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Tiffany is celebrated for her TedxTalk -  Creating diverse and equitable initiatives in data science. She serves an Associate Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Spelman College where she is a Carnegie and Rockefeller Distinguished Research Scholar. Dr. Oliver received her Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Emory University; her research uses both molecular and data-science based approaches to characterize genes and mutations that play a role in disease.

Dr. Oliver is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. She does this by running a research lab that employs and engages students in scientific research.

However, Dr. Oliver also creates opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration and experiential learning by leading projects that integrate STEM and the arts, better known as STEAM. Studies show that STEAM projects promote inquiry, problem solving, dialogue, critical thinking, and experiential learning.  Her students have won cash prizes and scholarships for their participation in activities including but not limited to the Army Research Lab’s Student Design Competition, where they created a fully functional, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), otherwise known as a “drone”, upon being provided with nothing but a sample of the bacteriaDr. Oliver also worked with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students that placed second in the International Bio Design Competition (BDC). In her first year of participation, her students placed second out of 51 international institutions for the design of a bio-inspired garment, that imbued modular biosensors and spider silk to provide physical protection as well as enable the communication of health and emotions between wearers via a virtual network.

Dr. Oliver’s passion for increasing diversity, specifically within the field of data science is highlighted by the student and faculty research programs she has created. She currently directs three undergraduate research programs that teach students how to code and provides them with the research experience, networking, and professional development needed to be competitive for careers in the field of data science. These programs have been funded by Fortune 500 companies including the Southern Company and Accenture. Dr. Oliver also serve as the Co-PI on a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds a 3+2 master’s  program that allows STEM majors to receive both their Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Data Science in only 5 years. As it pertains to opportunities for faculty, Dr. Oliver a serves as a team lead and co-facilitator for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Excelencia’s “Leveraging Big Data to Achieve Equity” program. In this capacity, she teaches faculty how to code and about the importance of data integrity, privacy and confidentiality. Dr. Oliver presents nationally and internationally to student groups, major scientific societies, faculty, and other interest groups.

Speaker Videos

Creating diverse and equitable initiatives in data science | Tiffany Oliver | TEDxMorehouseCollege

Broadening Participation of Students of Color in Data Science

Red Light Therapy

Why Spelman? Dr. Tiffany Oliver

Speech Topics

Magic is Science

Creating Diverse & Equitable Initiatives in Data Science

The Importance of Diversity in Healthcare

Stereotype Threat & Microaggressions in the Workplace