AWM-MAA Etta Z. Falconer Lecture 2017

Lecturer: Talithia Williams, Harvey Mudd College

Not So Hidden Figures: Unveiling Mathematical Talent

In the past few months, the movie “Hidden Figures” has brought visibility to the lives of African American women who served as NASA “human computers” in the 1960s. During that same time, Dr. Etta Falconer, the 11th African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, began her tenure at Spelman College, motivating young women of color to be and do more than they dreamed possible in a field where their presence was lacking. I was fortunate to take her classes, engage her mathematical mind and dream of following in her footsteps. At Harvey Mudd College, I now find myself replicating those “Falconer moments” with my own students. I’ll share several of these strategies that you can use in and out of the classroom to encourage all students, particularly underrepresented students, to develop their mathematical talent and pursue mathematical sciences.