Mosaic Lecture to examine statistical misuses in media

Talithia Williams
Talithia Williams

Statistical information, ranging from politics and health, to education and film, can be seen via various media outlets daily, and the widespread use of these numbers can play an influential role in persuading public opinions.

During the 3rd annual Mosaic Lecture at Grand Valley, Talithia Williams, associate professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, will examine the applications of statistics in American media and give examples of where statistics have been misused.

Williams will present "Lies, Deceit, and Misrepresentation: The Distortion of Statistics in America" Wednesday, March 30, at 7 p.m., in Manitou Hall, room 123, on the Allendale Campus.

"Everyone, regardless of educational background and interest, is both a consumer of statistics and a subject of statistical analysis," said Jonathan Hodge, Math Department chair. "Data and statistics have become vital components of news reports, and numerous companies, organizations and governmental entities collect data on just about everyone."

Throughout her career, Williams has made it her mission to excite students, parents, educators and community members about the benefits of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education through her knowledge of statistics. To accomplish this, she attempts to take complicated numerical concepts, and make them more understandable and relatable for all audiences. Through her research and work, Williams is striving to rebrand the field of mathematics as being a stimulating and positive career path that is crucial to the future of the country.

Williams has received numerous awards and fellowships during her career, including the Mathematical Association of America's Henry L. Alder Award for exemplary teaching by an early career mathematics professor. She is also a 2015-2016 ACE Fellow — a higher education leadership development program through the American Council on Education.

The 2016 Mosaic Lecture is co-sponsored by the Statistics Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

For more information about this year’s Mosaic Lecture, contact Jonathan Hodge at [email protected] or visit the Math Department website.


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