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Roselyn Williams

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Information about Roselyn Williams

Profile image of Roselyn Williams

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Italian Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty--a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learned as a task, but to be assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement. . . . generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, . . . . - Bertrand Russell

Birthplace

Born:
11/1/1950
Birth Location:
Tallahassee, Florida

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Italian Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty--a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learned as a task, but to be assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement. . . . generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, . . . . - Bertrand Russell

Birthplace

Born:
11/1/1950
Birth Location:
Tallahassee
See how Roselyn Williams is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Mathematician Roselyn Elaine Williams was born on November 1, 1950 in Tallahassee, Florida. Her father, Robert Williams, was a World War II veteran; her mother, Lucile Wynn, an educator. Born in the Florida A & M University (FAMU) Hospital, Williams grew up in academia and attended the nursery, elementary, and high schools on FAMU’s campus. Williams then enrolled in Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she was mentored by Dr. Etta Falconer, chair of the mathematics department, and Dr. David Blackwell during a summer program at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated from Spelman College with her B.S. degree in mathematics in 1972. Williams went on to earn her M.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Florida in 1974, and her Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Florida State University in 1988.

In 1974, Williams began her career in higher education as an instructor at Florida A & M University. She taught there for five years and then spent two semesters at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia as an assistant professor of mathematics. After receiving her doctoral degree in 1988, Williams returned to Florida A & M University and was appointed as an associate professor in the mathematics department. In 2007, she was named chairperson of the mathematics department where she served until 2005. From 1990 through 2009, she served on the steering committee of the Sunshine State Scholars, a state-funded project that recognize outstanding high school students in mathematics and science. At Florida A & M University, she served on several campus committees to enhance undergraduate research and assess the performance of students in STEM disciplines.

Williams has coordinated programs to promote STEM education for students at all levels of education, including Alliance for Production of African American PhDs in the Mathematical Sciences (Alliance 1 Alliance 2), the Florida A & M University Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates (FAMU-IREU), the Florida A & M University Computer Science, Engineering Technology and Scholarship Program (CSEM Scholars), Research Experiences for Undergraduate Faculty (REUF), and Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education for Women (EDGE for Women).

Williams served as the treasurer/secretary for the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and American Mathematical Society (AMS). She also served on the advisory board of the B. L. Perry Branch of the Leon County Public Library. Williams is a member of the board of the C. K. Steele Scholarship Foundation, Inc., the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. In 2008, Williams’ engagement for gender equality at the workplace was recognized by a presentation at the “Workshop on Inequality, Growth and Development” at the United Nations Summit in New York City.

Roselyn Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 2, 2013.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roselyn Williams' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams talks about her mother's growing up in Apalachicola, Florida, her mother's education and career in the Leon County schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roselyn Williams describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roselyn Williams talks about the history of The Rabbit's Foot Minstrel
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roselyn Williams talks about her paternal grandfather's career as a clarinetist in The Rabbit's Foot Minstrel
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roselyn Williams talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roselyn Williams describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roselyn Williams talks about her brother, Ronald Leslie Williams
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roselyn Williams describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roselyn Williams talks about her childhood neighborhood in Tallahasee, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Tallahasee, Florida - part one
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams talks about Florida A&M University's Children's Theater
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams talks about the schools in Tallahassee in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roselyn Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up - part two
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roselyn Williams talks about the role of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, and its minister, Reverend C.K. Steele, in integrating Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roselyn Williams describes growing up during segregation in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roselyn Williams talks about integration in Tallahassee in the 1960s, and the resulting effect on African American businesses
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roselyn Williams talks about attending school on Florida A&M University's campus
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roselyn Williams talks about her teachers in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams talks about her interests as a young girl, particularly in playing the piano
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams talks about notable guests who visited her community in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams describes her interest in mathematics in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roselyn Williams talks about receiving an outstanding student award in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roselyn Williams describes her decision to attend Spelman College for her undergraduate studies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roselyn Williams recalls Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roselyn Williams describes her experience at Spelman College and talks about her math teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roselyn Williams talks about her interest in mathematics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Roselyn Williams talks about a summer math program at University of California, Berkeley, where she met Dr. David Blackwell
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Roselyn Williams describes her graduation ceremony from Spelman College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Roselyn Williams talks about being the first African American master's degree student in mathematics at the University of Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roselyn Williams describes her experience as an instructor of mathematics at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams talks about leaving Florida A&M University to pursue her Ph.D. degree in mathematics at Florida State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams talks about her dissertation on Hopf algebras and the significance of German mathematician, David Hilbert
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams talks German mathematician, David Hilbert
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roselyn Williams talks about her dissertation on Hopf algebras, entitled 'Finite Dimensional Hopf algebras'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roselyn Williams discusses the applications of mathematical theories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roselyn Williams talks about transitioning from research to teaching at Florida A&M University (FAMU)
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roselyn Williams talks about transitioning from research mathematics to teaching and mentoring undergraduate students at Florida A&M University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roselyn Williams talks about directing the 'Mathematical Modeling in the Natural and Social Sciences' program in 1997
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roselyn Williams describes her work with the Alliance for the Production of African American Ph.D.s in the Mathematical Sciences (Alliance)
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams discusses her teaching philosophy - part one
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams discusses her teaching philosophy - part two
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams talks about her hopes and concerns for graduates from the mathematics program at Florida A&M University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roselyn Williams talks about the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education for Women program (EDGE) and African American women in academia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roselyn Williams talks about prominent African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roselyn Williams talks about her involvement with the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roselyn Williams reflects upon her life and her career's legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roselyn Williams describes her hopes for the African American community today
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roselyn Williams describes her concerns for the African American community and her hopes for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University(FAMU)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roselyn Williams talks about her close ties with her students at Florida A&M University (FAMU), and her collaborations with other departments
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roselyn Williams tells of how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roselyn Williams describes her photographs