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Van Loan Commencement Speaker

Dr. Oneeka Williams

Dr. Oneeka Williams

Dr. Oneeka Williams is a trailblazer and is on a mission to "Educate, Empower, and Enrich" the lives of children and to change the way generations think about what is possible. She is a distinguished urologic surgeon at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and assistant clinical professor of urology at Tufts Medical School. Dr. Williams has been breaking down barriers all her life, and she represents the 0.001 percent of urologic surgeons in the United States who are black women.

As a child in the Caribbean, facing systemic and cultural biases limiting access to physics courses for girls, Dr. Williams became the first girl to attend a traditionally all-boys school. She continued to blaze the trail by becoming the first black woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 1988 and the first black woman to train in urologic surgery at the Lahey Clinic from 1995-1999.

This journey has made Dr. Williams keenly aware of the challenges faced by children who are prescribed limits and are not able to see themselves as powerful. She is finely attuned to the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields and identifies that early exposure to role models and empowering messages is important. As founder and CEO of Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo LLC, Dr. Williams has created a counter narrative in the form of a powerful, confident girl super surgeon, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo, who believes that “not even the sky is the limit." To this end she has published a series of science-based children’s books featuring this powerful and positive girl superhero. Her books incorporate educational science content into an entertaining and exciting platform that celebrate diversity and have been embraced by children and educators across the country and various parts of the world. Dr. Williams believes that this early positive imprinting combined with a toolkit to support the development of a regular practice of “habits of positivity” will allow children to become adults who will have a mindset without borders. The most recent book on climate change - Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention was released in March 2018.

Dr. Williams did her early education in Guyana and Barbados and credits her science teacher Mom and journalist Dad for her early love of science and writing. She completed her MD, MPH at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in 1993 and general surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1995. Her commitment to community and public health is central to her practice, and she speaks regularly on a wide range of urologic and health topics to help empower communities to participate fully in the promotion of their health. Dr. Williams has led health ministries at churches such as Myrtle Baptist Church and Pentecostal Tabernacle and Health Fairs with organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack and Jill of America. Dr. Williams is a tireless mentor to girls and students, and as co-chair of the Health Committee for the Boston Chapter of The Links from 2013-2016, Dr. Williams designed and operated a self-esteem and empowerment group for middle school girls at the Martin Luther King School in Boston as part of a chapter-wide initiative and helped to establish the middle school’s health curriculum. Dr. Williams has a passion for teaching and presents regularly at schools and around the world at STEM and literacy conferences.

She is a founding member of Steward Urology at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and her exquisite dedication to patient care and to the operative experience of her patients has made her a widely sought-after urologist.

She has been recognized for her work in STEM education and creating positive mindsets in our children. Awards include the 2014 Science Club for Girls Catalyst Award for Excellence and Diversity in Science, the 2016 EVKIDS Youth Champion Award, and the 2018 GBS National Council of Negro Women of Courage and Conviction Award.

Dr. Williams is on the Board of Overseers at the Museum of Science and is married to Dr. Charles Anderson. They have one son, Mark.