When Presley Williamson was awarded the Dr. J. Don Brock Astec, Inc. Memorial Scholarship, she said she thanked God and then called her mom and dad, Astec Regional Sales Manager Adrian Williamson.
The scholarship was created to honor the incredible legacy of Astec’s founder, Dr. Don Brock, who earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1961. Dr. Brock would be happy to know Presley is following in his academic footsteps at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
The sophomore student-athlete is a member UTC’s softball team and, like Dr. Brock, is majoring in mechanical engineering, a subject she became interested in while attending Boyd Buchanan School in Chattanooga.
“I had an amazing teacher who made me really enjoy the subject,” Presley said. “He also convinced me to join robotics my senior year, which was a great learning experience and made me want to study engineering even more.”
Presley also found academic inspiration in the movie “Hidden Figures,” the true story of three women who rose the ranks of NASA and played an integral role in the launch of astronaut John Glenn into Earth’s orbit and his safe return.
“The movie inspired me to become not only a woman in engineering, but also in aeronautics,” she explained. “During my first year at UTC, I attended an AIAA meeting just to see what it was about. A professor from the aerospace engineering department at UTK guest spoke, and it was one of the coolest presentations I’ve listened to. Although I didn't understand everything he was talking about, it sparked my interest in aeronautics even more.”
Adrian knows the sky’s the limit for his daughter and credits her dedication and work ethic for her success in the classroom and on the field.
“My want and drive to succeed is what really pushes me to do my best in both softball and engineering,” Presley said. “It can be hard to balance both some days. Enjoying the classes I take plays a big part in getting everything done. I'm also an FCA leader on campus and being a part of that has helped me take time out of my days for God and always remembering that everything I do in school and softball is for Him.”
To say Adrian and his wife Sonya are proud of his daughter would be an understatement, and they are thankful Astec is helping Presley reach her goals.
“Making this scholarship available to our children, grandchildren, stepchildren, and step grandchildren shows the company’s dedication to employee well-being and success,” Adrian said. “It’s a great opportunity that can help better the life of a family member, and I encourage Astec employees to look into it.”