Andrew B. Williams is a recently tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the Founder and Coach of the SpelBots, the first all woman and African American team to compete in the international robotics championships, RoboCup, and the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation project, C.A.R.E. Computer and Robotics for African American Students. Dr. Williams was a GEM Engineering Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Kansas sponsored by General Electric and became the first African American to graduate from KU with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1999. Dr. Williams and his SpelBots have been featured nationally in the September 2005 issue of Ebony Magazine, CNN American Morning, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Atlanta Daily World, National Public Radio and a host of other historically black newspapers and radio around the country. The SpelBots are listed in the May 2006 issue of Atlanta Magazine as one of the “45 Atlantans We Love”. Dr. Williams first was mentored and provided mentorship through his involvement as an undergraduate in the National Society of Black Engineers. While a faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Iowa from 1999-2004, he started RAMP-IT, a computer and robotics day camp for underrepresented students and received sponsorship from Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. After arriving at Spelman in the Fall 2004, he founded the SpelBots and trained the students to be able to successfully compete in the RoboCup US Open, May 2005 and become one of only 24 teams to qualify for the international RoboCup 2005 in Osaka Japan. The only other US teams to qualify and compete were Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas-Austin. Dr. Williams’ SpelBots are the subject of a soon to be released documentary that was produced at Turner Studios in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Williams C.A.R.E. project has three components to stimulate interest and expertise in computer and robotics among African American middle school students and college students: the C.A.R.E. Camp, The C.A.R.E. HBCU Olympiad, and the C.A.R.E. Tekkotsu Robotics Program. The C.A.R.E. Camp is a two week summer camp for African American middle school boys and girls centered around Video Game Design, Sony AIBO Four-Legged Robotics Programming, and leadership Development. The C.A.R.E. Olympiad is a modern five event pentathlon for HBCU’s involving competitions in programming, web design, hardware and software integration, cryptography, and robotics. The C.A.R.E. Tekkotsu Robotics Program involves providing Tekkotsu and Sony AIBO Robots and equipment, training, and curriculum development to three other HBCUs: Florida A&M, University of the District of Columbia and Hampton University.
Dr. Williams is happily married to his wife Anitra Williams for 14 years and the father of three beautiful children: John (12), Adrianna (10), and Rosa. Dr. Williams recently became an associate minister at his church, Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in College Park, Georgia. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1988 and his M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering.