#WCWinSTEM: Shelby Wilson, Ph.D.

In addition to her own research, Dr. Wilson is a co-founder of Mathematically Gifted and Black, which highlights the accomplishments and stories of black mathematicians. She is excited to tell us more about her journey!


We are excited to celebrate black mathematicians month with another #WCWinSTEM feature highlighting the achievements of a black woman mathematician.

This week’s #WCWinSTEM is Dr. Shelby Wilson, a mathematical biologist who uses statistical parameter estimation to create models of biological phenomena!

Responses may be edited for clarity and brevity.


Where did you go to school?

  • B.S. Mathematics and Computer Science, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
  • Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD


What do you do right now?

I’m an assistant professor in the mathematics department at Morehouse College. I am a mathematical biologist who uses the techniques of parameter estimation, differential equations and numerical analysis to create models of biological phenomenon (e.g. cancer growth, sleep dynamics, cellular immune dynamics, dynamic networks). I’m also involved in a number of projects that are designed to bring visibility to mathematicians of color.


What made you choose your STEM discipline in the first place?

I started college as a chemistry major but quickly realized that I absolutely hated labwork. I remember being in chemistry lab during my freshman year and waiting for water to boil so that we could determine the melting point of naphthalene. I thought, “it’s 8am and I’m using a bunsen burner to try to boil water. I can’t do this for four years!” Soon thereafter, I chose to be a math major because it was the only STEM major at Spelman with NO labs!

More seriously, I always loved mathematics but it wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that mathematics wasn’t just a tool of the sciences, but a beautiful disciple in and of itself.




Jedidah Isler