The Maryville College Senior is majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Spanish. She plans to graduate in December 2023.
“Protecting our environment is very important to me,” Williams said about why she chose to study Environmental Science.
Last summer, Williams applied and was accepted to participate in the Undergraduate Research Experiences in the Environmental Health Science (REU Program) at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
She chose to investigate the impact of prolonged water stagnation present in eyewash station water. Ultimately, she co-authored a paper, “Risks of Exposure to Microbial Contamination in Eyewash Stations” that was published in the American Journal of Infection Control in December 2022.
“Being a part of this study from start to finish meant a great deal to me as I connected and collaborated with experienced Ph.D. students and professors in the field,” Williams said. “I also learned about the process of researching and publishing an article. Their guidance was extremely helpful in helping me to decide on a future career path.”
Next, Williams plans to secure an internship with an environmental consulting firm and prepare for a master’s degree program with a concentration in forestry.
While she continues to further her education, Williams reflects on her years at LAHS and her educational journey.
“My experience at LEAD Academy is one that I will always cherish,” she said. “From the valuable friendships I made to the community connections, all of these and more have contributed to my successful transition into young adulthood and college. Having teachers who genuinely care about my success and well-being was amazing.”
Williams’ teachers also have fond memories of her time in their classrooms.
“Justice is one of those students that stick with you years after they leave your classroom. I had the privilege of teaching her as a sophomore and then again as a senior. She has one of the best mixtures of raw intelligence, curiosity, and humility that I have ever come across. She wanted to get better each day,” said LAHS teacher Joseph Yurchak. “ I am so proud of what she is doing now.”
Williams encourages current LEADers to take advantage of student-led conferences, extra-curricular activities (her favorite was rugby!), and has a few words of advice:
- Keep an open mind and remember it’s okay if you change your mind; now is the time for exploration.
- Perfection is not a prerequisite for success and don’t limit yourself.
- Life’s a journey and your journey is for you.
- Balance is important, study but remember to live, laugh, and have fun responsibly.