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Andrew B. Williams is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Charles E. and Mary Jane Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Engineering. He participated in the 2015 Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing and the 2017 GGCS in Washington as a mentor.
Dr. Williams founded and directs the IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) Diversity and Women’s Program and the Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics (HEIR) Lab at KU. He also founded the KUEST (KU Engineering, Science, and Technology) program, which seeks to increase pathways for underrepresented minority and female students into engineering by providing STEM programming for middle school through first-year college students.
He is the author of Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives (2009) and has written over 80 technical and educational publications and invited presentations in artificial intelligence, robotics, and K-12 education and has been awarded over $8 million in research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA, and companies such as Google, Apple, and Boeing. He was the founding Principal Investigator and Director of the ARTSI (Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact) Alliance, a Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance funded by NSF that included eight major research universities (including Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, and Brown) and eleven historically black colleges and universities (including Hampton University, Florida A&M, and Spelman College).
Dr. Williams is an NSF ScienceMaker, one of 180 African American top scientists interviewed and archived in the HistoryMakers oral history in the US Library of Congress. This honor resulted from his national efforts to increase diversity in STEM fields and his history-making role in founding and directing the SpelBots, an internationally known all-female RoboCup robotics team from Spelman College, where he was Department Chair in Computer and Information Sciences. He also has the distinction of being personally hired by Steve Jobs as Apple Inc.’s first Senior Engineering Diversity Manager.
He received his PhD in electrical engineering with an emphasis in artificial intelligence at KU as a GEM PhD Fellow sponsored by General Electric; his MS in electrical and computer engineering from Marquette University; and his BS in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas.