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Staff Spotlight: Jessica Williams

Author: Stephanie Flores

It’s time to give a warm welcome to Jessica Williams, one of the newest members of the Odum team! Jessica is our Assistant Director of Survey Research and Development, providing consultation to students, faculty, and staff on their survey research projects.

Originally from Fayetteville, NC, Jessica came to the Triangle to attend Peace College before transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill. After undergrad, Jessica moved back home briefly to pursue her Master’s at Fayetteville State University and work full time as the Survey Research Coordinator at FSU’s Research Center for Health Disparities. After graduation, she became a Research Survey Scientist within RTI International’s Survey Research Division. In 2006, Jessica made her way back to Durham. She can’t imagine living anywhere else!

Being so close to Chapel Hill, it’s no surprise that the energy from the people, cultures, and experiences drew her back to her Tar Heel roots and to Odum.

Having worked in survey research for many years, Williams’ experience gives her the opportunity to offer practical considerations for people designing their research studies. Along with Odum’s mission to foster groundbreaking social research to improve the lives of people in NC and around the world, wanting to support the UNC community was a driving force behind Jessica’s decision to join our team.

“It’s extremely rewarding to help someone craft a survey research project. Helping solve a design question or sort through operational details is always an exciting part of the job,” Jessica said. “I also really enjoy collaborating with my Odum colleagues and learning from such amazing experts.”

In her free time, Jessica loves to plan weekend road trips with her family. Lazy lake days or beach picnics are never off the table for them. Over the pandemic, Jessica made a “bucket garden”—growing her plants in containers rather than the ground. Pleasantly surprised at the results, she will definitely be creating one each year now.





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