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Talithia Williams, Ph.D.

Professors
Rice University
Harvey Mudd College
Professor

Talithia Williams, Ph.D.

To truly appreciate statistical information, we have to understand the language of statistics, the assumptions of statistics, and how we reason in the face of uncertainty.

Talithia Williams is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning 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. Renowned for her popular TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” Dr. Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts and makes them understandable to a wide audience. 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. In her research, Dr. Williams develops statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data. She has partnered with the World Health Organization in developing a model to predict the annual number of cataract surgeries needed to eliminate blindness in Africa. Dr. Williams is cohost of the PBS series NOVA Wonders, and she has delivered speeches around the country on the value of statistics in quantifying personal health information.