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Andrew Williams

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Information about Andrew Williams

Profile image of Andrew Williams

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Electrical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Bulgogi
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saint Lucia
Favorite Quote:
Success is never final. Failure is seldom fatal. It's courage that counts. - Winston Churchill

Birthplace

Born:
11/10/1964
Birth Location:
Junction City, Kansas

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Electrical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Bulgogi
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saint Lucia
Favorite Quote:
Success is never final. Failure is seldom fatal. It's courage that counts. - Winston Churchill

Birthplace

Born:
11/10/1964
Birth Location:
Junction City
See how Andrew Williams is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Electrical and computer engineer Andrew B. Williams was born in Junction City, Kansas to parents John M. Williams and Yuson Kim Williams. After receiving his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1988, Williams worked briefly in engineering. He then enrolled in Marquette University and graduated from there in 1995 with his M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering. Williams was awarded a GEM doctoral fellowship to attend the University of Kansas where he went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) in 1999. He was the first African American to graduate from the University of Kansas with a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering.

In 1999, Williams was appointed as an assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Iowa where he started RAMP-IT, a computer and robotics day camp for underrepresented students. After arriving at Spelman College in 2004 as an assistant professor in the computer and information sciences department, Williams founded the SpelBots, the first African American women’s competitive robotics team to compete in the international RoboCup. In 2005, his team successfully competed in the RoboCup U.S. Open and qualified for the International RoboCup championship in Osaka, Japan. Williams took a sabbatical from Spelman College in 2008 when Apple, Inc. Co-Founder and CEO Steve Jobs appointed him as Apple’s first senior engineering diversity manager. Williams returned to Spelman College from 2010 to 2012 to serve as chair of its computer and information science department. He also served as the primary co-founder on several other projects in order to broaden participation for minorities in STEM education, such as the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) alliance, the Advancing Spelman’s Participation in Informatics Research and Education (ASPIRE) project, and the Computer and Robotics for African American Students (CARE) project. Williams’ book, Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives (2009), chronicles his work in STEM education. In 2012, Williams was appointed as a tenured full professor and the John P. Raynor, S.J., Distinguished Chair of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Marquette University. He also became the founding director of Marquette University’s Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics (HEIR) Laboratory.

Williams and his SpelBots have been featured in media publications and outlets such as CNN American Morning, CBS Evening News, Black Enterprise magazine, JET magazine Ebony magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Atlanta Daily World. Not only was Williams individually recognized by Black Money magazine as one of the “50 Most Important African Americans in Technology” in 2010, 2011, and 2012, but he is also received the GEM Consortium Alumni Mentoring Award and the Marquette University Young Engineering Alumni Award. Williams and his wife, Anitra Williams, have three children: John Williams, Adrianna Williams, and Rosa Williams.

Andrew B. Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2013.

See how Andrew Williams is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrew Williams' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams talks about his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams describes his father growing up in the Great Depression
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams details his father's time in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Andrew Williams talks about his father's reaction to racism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Andrew Williams describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams talks about the difference in age of his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams describes his earliest memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams describes his siblings and his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about growing up poor in Junction City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams talks about his childhood interest in engineering
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams talks about the infamy of Junction City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams describes Junction City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Andrew Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Andrew Williams talks about his siblings' education and their support of his education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Andrew Williams talks about his father's support of his education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams talks about racism in Kansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams talks about joining the Free Methodist Church pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams talks about joining the Free Methodist Church pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams talks about his parents' challenges due to their interracial marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about his elementary school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams describes his childhood science experiments
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams describes his first experience with computers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams talks about basketball
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Andrew Williams describes getting his first computer and computer education in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Andrew Williams talks about his interest in engineering
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams describes his decision to attend the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams talks about his college counseling in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams describes his high school math courses
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams talks about his extracurricular activities in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams describes the lack of college mentoring from his parents
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams recalls visiting the University of Kansas for a weekend during high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams talks about the Student Counsel for Recruiting, Motivating, Educating Black Engineers at the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams describes why it took him five years to graduate from the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Andrew Williams talks about his mentors at the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams describes his mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams describes working for Allied Signal Aerospace Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams describes going to the University of Kansas for graduate school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams talks about being hired by General Electric and transferring to Marquette University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about his decision to pursue a doctoral degree
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams describes why he chose the University of Kansas for his doctoral degree
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams talks about the personal challenges he faced during his doctorate education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams talks about his doctoral dissertation pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams talks about his doctoral dissertation pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams talks about his shift in research from software agents to humanoid robotics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams describes how he became a professor at the University of Iowa
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about the relationship between science and religion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams describes his research at the University of Iowa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams reflects on the influence of his research on the medical field
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams describes leaving the University of Iowa to teach at Spelman College
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams talks about making a Robocup team at Spelman
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams describes qualifying for the Robocup U.S. Open in 2005
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about the Spelman robotics team competing in the 2005 Robocup U.S. Open
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams describes the Spelman robotics team competition in the 2005 International Robocup
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams talks about the Spelman robotics team tying for the championship match in the 2009 International Robocup
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams talks about the goal of Robocup
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams talks about the discrimination the Spelman College robotic team faced in Bremen, Germany
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams describes his involvement in STEM education while at Spelman College
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams talks about the grants and other initiatives he was involved in at Spelman College
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams describes how he was recruited by Apple
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams describes being Apple's first Senior Engineering Diversity Manager
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams talks about his book 'Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Andrew Williams talks about staying in touch with Steve Jobs
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Andrew Williams explains why he left Spelman College to become a professor at Marquette University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Andrew Williams talks about his research on humanoid robotics pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Andrew Williams talks about his research on humanoid robotics pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Andrew Williams talks about the need for underrepresented engineers
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Andrew Williams reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Andrew Williams talks about his family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Andrew Williams talks about he would like to be remembered