Dwight L. Williams was born in the inner city of Washington, D.C., and later moved to Fairfax, Virginia, to benefit from expanded educational opportunities. Although Williams enjoyed science, he did not perform well in his science classes. In fact, the first and only "A" that he earned in a science class was in physics toward the end of his high school years. Because he liked science and performed well in physics, Williams was inspired to major in nuclear engineering when he entered college.
Since then, Williams has blazed many trails and achieved several firsts. By age 33, Williams had reached the position of chief engineer/principal nuclear physicist at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he develops high-tech devices for the military.
In addition, by the age of 35, he had reached full professor status in the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Recently, Williams became the first African American to be named National Young Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers. He was also the first African American to be named a Director of National Intelligence Fellow. That is the highest award available for scientists who design and develop James Bond/Mission Impossible-type devices.
Williams attended North Carolina State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in nuclear engineering. He went on to earn a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Maryland.
Williams views his academic achievements and professional accomplishments as tools that can be used to demonstrate the potential that exists within the African-American community. At every opportunity, he uses his abilities and success to help others achieve. He enjoys speaking to students, professionals and the media about his personal experience and lessons that he has learned along his journey.
While his message of success transcends racial boundaries, he has a particular interest in helping other African Americans realize their higher education and professional goals. He looks forward to the day when being a world-renowned African-American scientist is not unusual.
Williams has mentored numerous African Americans to senior-level positions in the U.S. Department of Defense. He encourages America's future leaders to do the same: "If you want to succeed, help those around you to succeed."
Diverse Applications of Nuclear Technology
as author at MIT World Series: The Future of Nuclear Technology 2007,
together with: David Kaiser (moderator), Ian Hutchinson, Jeffrey Coderre, Alan Jasanoff,