About Me

I have always loved math

McCollum FamilyI loved math from the beginning. I come from a large family (I'm the 6th of 12 kids!), so there was always someone who needed help with their math homework. Over the years I tutored many family members, friends, and children of friends in subjects from algebra to calculus. Along the way, I also taught math at a community college and mentored young women who were fresh out of engineering school.

I earned my B.S. in Ocean Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering, with a minor in Math, because I wanted to apply mathematical equations to real-world problems. I had opportunities to work in many different areas of research and to travel to many different places.

I now live in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, about an hour from Asheville, with my husband, Mike.

Mike & Michele Williams

but I wanted to be a secretary

I grew up in a small town in central Florida. On Career Day in 5th grade, my teacher applauded me for having the highest aspirations of any girl in my class -- the career I chose was Executive Secretary! My family later moved to the coast and I attended a college prep high school, where I was encouraged to reach for the stars. I went on to become the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from my university.

My engineering career was challenging and fulfilling, but over the years I realized that my greatest gratification did not come from my day job; it came from the evening and weekend hours that I spent helping kids with math. I especially enjoyed teaching those who believed they could never become proficient at math.

I began my second career as a math tutor and coach because I want to pay it forward ... to encourage students to reach for the stars, and to give parents the tools they need to help their kids reach their goals.

Math has been called a "gateway to college and career" and math proficiency is one of the best predictors of academic success overall. Math matters.

This is me with my Dad on the day that I graduated with my Ph.D. in Engineering. He was so proud! Looking back, it's hard to believe that I once felt limited in my career choices.