A Mathematician’s Journey to Public Service

  • Carla D. Cotwright-Williams
Part of the Association for Women in Mathematics Series book series (AWMS, volume 18)


The author discusses her path from a childhood growing up in a family that valued helping others, to earning a PhD in Mathematics, to working as an assistant professor of mathematics, to serving as a American Mathematical Society/American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Fellow, to public service work as a federal employee keeping data safe at the US Social Security Administration and conducting research on autonomous vehicles at the NASA Ames Research Center. During the author’s work for the federal government, she has held the titles of “computer scientist,” “senior research analyst,” and “data scientist.” Nonetheless, she has discovered that a mathematician by another name is still a mathematician. Further, she argues that mathematicians who are interested in using their knowledge and skills to help improve the lives of others and to help find solutions to the government’s toughest problems should consider public service careers.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) and the Association for Women in Mathematics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla D. Cotwright-Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of DefenseJoint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), PentagonArlingtonUSA

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