University Forum Honors Dr. Talithia Williams


Sean Smith, Photo Editor

Dr. Talithia Williams presents “Communicating Data, Health, and Change” at the University Forum.

USM’s University Forum has made its grand return for the semester by starting with a presentation from Dr. Talithia Williams on February 7th. 

Dr. Talithia Williams is an accomplished woman in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) who has been internationally recognized for her studies. Williams’ research involves creating statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and applying these models to real world problems. After receiving multiple degrees from Spelman College, Howard University, and Rice University, Williams is now an associate professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. For her achievements, Williams received the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching. 

Williams has worked with NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Security Agency, and as a research partner with the World Health Organization. Williams has been featured on her own TED Talk, titled “Own Your Body’s Data.” Williams has had multiple publications: Learning Statistics and Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics. Williams was most recently featured as the co-host in the PBS NOVA series “NOVA Wonders.” 

Throughout the forum, Williams showcased her research and how she became who she is today. During the presentation, Williams encouraged student participation. At one point, Williams asked the students to consider their own ways to communicate with those that work around them, using the “think, pair, share” method. 

When the presentation was over, many students cited how inspired they felt by Williams and how important they considered her presentation to be. 

“Today was really important to me because we got to see Talithia Williams, [who is a very] important woman, at least to me, woman in STEM who has made significant strides, participated in a lot of different things, and received a lot of exposure. And you know it’s just very nice to see a person of color, a woman of color especially.” said Jaylin Jones, USM student. 

The next University Forum will be on March 21, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium and will feature Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay.