The AATCC Future Leaders Award recognizes promising young professionals in the fields of textiles, apparel, and related material sciences, provides acknowledgement and recognition to enhance their careers, engages these young professionals in the work of the Association, and brings their insights and needs to the forefront. These young professionals are the future of the textile industry and the future leaders of AATCC. Award recipients are determined by each AATCC Interest Group.
Chemical Applications Interest Group
Tova Williams is an assistant professor in the Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU). She has been a member of AATCC since 2022.
Williams graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Polymer and Color Chemistry/American Chemical Society Certified Degree from NCSU in 2014. She worked with Professor Harold Freeman as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2014 through 2018, when she graduated with a PhD in Polymer and Fiber Science (Chemistry minor). After graduation, she worked with Cotton Incorporated and then Tokyo Chemical Industry America, all the while continuing her connection with NCSU, first, as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Textile Protection and Comfort Section, and then as an Adjunct Research Professor.
Williams has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has three active grants. She also manages the Sustainable Dye Lab at NCSU, and involves graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in studies involving sustainable dyes. Her passion is getting young people involved in textile science.
Concept 2 Consumer Interest Group
Julian Rojas is a method and capability development scientist for Henkel Consumer Brands R&D. Rojas has been a part of Henkel since 2021, where he has supported and developed multiple methods for product performance assessment and technology screening. Much of this method development work involves transferring and adapting textile industry testing standards to be applied within the laundry and homecare category.
Rojas joined AATCC in 2021 and has been participating in AATCC committee meetings since spring 2022, where he now holds the chair position in the Evaluation of Materials & Products for End Use Performance Test Method Committee. He is also an active member in the Home Laundering Technology, and Hand Evaluation Test Method Committees.
Rojas received his BS in Chemical Engineering with a minor in renewable energy systems from Syracuse University. He enjoys applying his engineering mindset to his current role, where he is often troubleshooting and brainstorming ways to optimize current best practices.
Materials Interest Group
Since 2017, Joanne Brasch has served as the special projects manager for the California Product Stewardship Council in Sacramento, CA, USA, a 501(c)(3) with the mission to shift the cost burden for home generated waste. In this capacity, she was also appointed by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to two advisory committees for carpet and mattress recycling, and currently chairs both.
Brasch’s career involves textile economics and environmental analysis. She earned three degrees from the University of California-Davis: a BS in International Agricultural Development from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, an MS in Textiles and Clothing from the Division of Textiles and Clothing, and a PhD in Textile Economics and Environmental Analysis. While working on her masters and PhD, she performed extensive, multi-disciplinary research with the National Science Foundation on reusable/disposable medical textiles. During this time, she also served as a sustainability researcher with the University of California-Davis Health System, which involved three dissertation projects, plus participation in committees and work groups at the hospital, main campus, and the university Office of the President. The projects resulted in estimated cost-savings of over $120K and diversion of several tons of medical waste from the system. Brasch has been a lecturer at the University of California-Davis and Donghua University. Her work has been published, presented, and cited on numerous occasions.
Brasch has been a member of AATCC since 2013. She has been a member of the AATCC California Section Board since 2019, and currently serves as chair.
RISE (Rising Professionals) Interest Group
Jessica Brooks is the colorist with the Vertical Business Units for W. L. Gore & Associates. She has been with Gore since 2021. In addition, Brooks is an adjunct faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University and teaches the Color, Dyeing, & Finishing course each year in the fall semester. Prior to this, she was the Dye Lab & Technical Manager for Darlington Fabrics. From 2010 to 2019, Brooks held various positions at Brookwood Companies and Brookwood Finishing, ranging from sales to managing the physical testing laboratory & dye laboratory. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with an MS in Textile Science and from the University of Delaware with a BS double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology with a minor in Legal Studies.
Brooks has been a member of AATCC since 2013. Locally, she serves as the Vice Chair of the AATCC Delaware Valley Section. Nationally, she is Chair of the RISE Interest Group and, in this capacity, serves on the AATCC Board of Directors. She is also a member of the RA36 Color Measurement Test Methods Committee. Brooks believes in helping push future generations into taking active roles within AATCC and promoting a mentorship space within the Association.
The Future Leaders Award
Nominees for the AATCC Future Leaders Award must be AATCC members who are 39 years old or younger and actively engaged in or have a history of service with AATCC or the greater textile or related industries. They must display leadership skills, and desire to become more involved with the objectives of AATCC: to increase expertise, encourage research, and establish channels for the interchange of professional knowledge.