Keynote Speakers


TEACH 2021 Keynote Speakers


MORNING

Talithia Williams

Big Data Expert, Math Professor,
& Host of NOVA Wonders

Sponsored by WJCT Public Media

A host of the PBS series, NOVA Wonders, Dr. Talithia Williams is a groundbreaking professor, popular TED speaker, inspiring author and passionate STEM/STEAM advocate. She has made it her life's work to get people of all ages and backgrounds excited about the bold possibilities of a STEM education and to “STEMpower” women and minorities to enter these professions. Her latest book, Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics reflects Williams’ passion to re-brand the field of mathematics as anything but dry, technical or male-dominated. Renowned for her popular TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” she advocates for all of us to deploy data as a way of taking charge of our own health. A vibrant, engaging and energizing speaker, Dr. Williams demystifies data, statistics, probabilities and the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways. She also passionately champions the contributions of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians and their vital role in transforming our future.

Dr. Williams is Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning and Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, where she develops statistical models which emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data, and applies them to real world problems. Focused on data analytics, mathematics, statistical modeling and STEM Outreach, she is the first African-American woman to achieve tenure at the college. She hosts NOVA Wonders, a PBS mini-series that explores the biggest questions on the frontiers of science. The Los Angeles Times praised the show for sending the message “that scientists come in a range of ages, genders, colors and hairstyles.” She also appeared in NOVA’s Prediction by the Numbers, a series exploring the history of probabilities and gambling which Forbes called, “an entertaining, fun piece that conveys her knowledgeable and deep interest in this predictive method.” In addition to her teaching and television work, she has partnered with the World Health Organization in developing a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for countries in Africa. Her professional experiences include research appointments at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the National Security Agency.

An exceptional communicator and gifted teacher, Dr. Williams won the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for distinguished teaching. She also developed a 24-part college level lecture series on learning statistics for The Great Courses, an online platform for lifelong learners. Dr. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Spelman College, a master’s degree in mathematics from Howard University and a Ph.D. in statistics from Rice University.

Described by audiences as engaging, relevant, funny, accessible, and a joy to work with, Dr. Williams captivates and inspires with her contagious enthusiasm for STEM in general and math in particular. Applying the data-driven approach made famous in her TED talk to a range of subjects, she takes sophisticated numerical concepts and makes them understandable to a wide audience, debunking perceptions with an energizing call to “show me the data!”


AFTERNOON

Ron Clark

Founder & Mathematics Teacher
Sponsored by WJCT Public Media

Mr. Clark has been called “America’s Educator.” In 2000, he was named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year. He is a New York Times bestselling author whose book, The Essential 55, has sold over 1 million copies and has been published in 25 different countries. He has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and Oprah, and Ms. Winfrey even named him as her first “Phenomenal Man.” His classes have been honored at the White House on three separate occasions. Ron’s teaching experiences in New York City are the subject of the uplifting film, The Ron Clark Story, starring Matthew Perry, better known as Chandler from Friends.

PREVIOUS SPEAKERS

2019

  • Wes Moore
  • Hamish Brewer

2018

  • Pedro Noguera
  • George Couros

2015

  • Mary Ehrenworth
  • Drew Dudley

2014

  • Marcia Tate
  • Kim Bearden

2013

  • Barnett Berry
  • Ron Clark

2012

  • Lucy Calkins
  • Brad Cohen