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Andy Mills

Surprised by classmates and spectators at SystemsGo Central Texas launch site in May, Fredericksburg High School senior Andy Mills was presented a check for $3000 as winner of the 2023 Brett Williams Scholarship. With Mills are his parents, Erin and David, and SystemsGo Executive Director Rebekah Hyatt (right). Photo by Phil Houseal

May 29, 2023–Andy Mills of Fredericksburg High School has been selected as the 2022-2023 Brett Williams Scholarship recipient, awarded annually by SystemsGo, the Texas-based nonprofit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program.

The $3000 scholarship was established by the SystemsGo Board of Directors in 2017 to sustain the legacy of founding instructor Brett Williams. It is a merit-based scholarship awarded to a current high school senior that has completed at least the Tsiolkovsky level curriculum and launched a rocket designed to take a one-pound payload to one mile.

“Each year, the SystemsGo Board of Directors selects one senior that exemplifies the founding philosophy of SystemsGo, and demonstrates the ability to problem solve in a project-based STEM environment,” said George Burns, Program Director. “We are proud to present this year’s Brent Williams Scholarship to Andy Mills and wish him the best at Texas A&M and beyond.”

The high school senior has been active in the SystemsGo program since his freshman year, taking every class offered. The son of David and Erin Mills, Andy intends to attend Texas A&M and major in mechanical engineering.

“These classes have given me experiences that have made me a better person and a better leader,” Mills wrote in his application. “As project leader, I felt a great sense of accomplishment not only because we made a rocket that many of us didn’t believe we had the capability to construct, but because I was able to lead my peers to this semester-long goal. I’ve learned more about myself than could be possible through other high school experiences.”

Rebekah Hyatt, Executive Director, noted Mills’ leadership attributes.

“Andy’s teacher, Andrew Matthes, spoke about his growth in leadership, determination and willingness to work during his time in SystemsGo,” Hyatt said. “When Andy came out to volunteer at the Central Texas Launch event, we saw these attributes first hand. The recommendation and award are well deserved.”

During the recently-completed Rockets2023 event, students from 70 SystemsGo high schools designed, built, and launched more than 150 rockets at four sites across Texas and New Mexico.

SystemsGo uses a problem and project-based model to invoke and stimulate skills in design, development, testing, analysis, and innovation. It currently is used in dozens of high schools across four states. More information at www.systemsgo.org.