Pamela Williams | Senior Consultant
LMI, Tysons Corner
Department: Math Modeling Group
Education: B.S. Mathematics, Minor in Spanish/Economics, 1991, University of Kentucky; M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (1998), Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University
Career stage: Mid—20 years post Bachelor’s
What She Does
LMI is a consulting firm whose major clients are the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services. Pamela is the project lead for a team that develops algorithms to solve inventory management problems. They help clients decide when to buy and how much to buy. There is no typical workday: she has managerial/administrative tasks such as reviewing project schedules and budgets, writing reports, presenting results to clients, and developing project proposals, as well as providing technical direction to the team, analyzing data, reviewing analytical results, and debugging simulation software.
Necessary Job Skills
The problems that Pamela and her team solve require expertise in programming (C++, Python, and R), statistics, and data analysis, as well as modeling and simulation. Without a strong background in mathematics or programming it would be impossible to solve inventory management problems.
Most weeks, Pamela works 40 hours. Over the years, she has made time to tutor middle school students and teach math courses at Northern Virginia Community College. LMI has a flexible telecommuting policy that allows employees to work remotely when personal needs dictate.
During college, Pamela interned at AT&T Bell Laboratories, which gave her the opportunity to see mathematics in use in the telecommunications industry. Statistical analysis, queueing theory, and data visualization were used to solve complex problems. In an exit interview, one of her mentors, suggested that she apply to graduate school. Knowing that she preferred industry as opposed to academia was the extent of her career planning. After graduation, she took a post-doctoral position at Sandia National Laboratories—the on-the-job training there required learning multiple programming languages (C++, JAVA, Perl, Python, and Ruby) and working in variety of application areas ranging from public transit operations to hydrogen energy to biology.
Career Expectations and Advice
“Hone your communication skills so that you can present to technical as well as non-technical audiences.”
Students should seek summer internships prior to graduation to gain valuable work experience, take multiple programming classes, and become lifelong learners.
According to Glassdoor, entry-level consulting salaries start at $60,000.
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