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Alumnae Stories

Talitha Washington Appointed Inaugural Data Science Initiative Director

July 2020

Spelman Mathematician Talitihia WashingtonFollowing an extensive national search, Spelman alumna, noted scholar, author, interdisciplinary researcher and innovator Talitha M. Washington, Ph.D., C’96, was recently named the director of the Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative. She will begin her tenure as director in mid-August.

Launched in 2019, the AUCC Data Science Initiative endeavors to dramatically increase the number of underrepresented minorities with credentials in data science and data analytics. The initiative also seeks to advance research using data science methods, especially in areas that impact minority communities.

With extensive experience that includes leadership in math education, research methodologies and partnership development, Dr. Washington served most recently as a program director at the National Science Foundation. In that role, she was "responsible for shaping the nation’s science and engineering enterprise and ensuring that underrepresented groups and diverse institutions across all geographic regions are included in the scientific enterprise of the nation. 

Start of QuoteDr. Washington is uniquely suited to lead the development of data science End of Quoteexpertise across the Atlanta University Center institutions.

As a tenured associate professor at Howard University, she was recently recognized by NSF as a Women’s History Maker and received the Black Engineer of the Year STEM Innovator Award. Dr. Washington also serves on a number of boards and shares motivational speeches on diversity and mathematics to a wide range of audiences.

"With our broad goal of impacting the trajectories of societies throughout the world, Dr. Washington is uniquely suited to lead the development of data science expertise across the Atlanta University Center institutions," said Todd Greene, executive director of the AUCC.

Talithia Washington Director of AUCC Data Science Initiative"Her unique combination of experience in program development, education, funding, and alliance-building will help forge connections among and between the Atlanta University Center students and faculty with global corporations, government agencies, and other colleges and universities."

With master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of Connecticut, and her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Spelman, Dr. Washington’s fields of interest include applying ordinary and partial differential equations to problems in biology and engineering. Her work on Dr. Elbert Frank Cox, the first Black in the world to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, has been shared on radio and television stations, as well as in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, a notable journal for mathematicians everywhere.

Read About Washington's Journey to the Top