Dr. Ashanti Johnson is an internationally recognized expert and sought-after speaker on STEM professional development, diversity and women in STEM topics. In her “Women Exploring Oceans” interview, Johnson reveals how she initially became interested in the oceans by watching Jacques Cousteau and how that interest was strengthened after interacting with a female marine biology graduate student who spent a day with Ashanti, then a fifth grader, discussing the oceans.
Johnson, who received her Ph.D. in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1999, still cherishes the childhood memory of that summer day and has throughout her college and professional career frequently shared her interest in the oceans with children, teachers, community leaders, college students and federal government officials.
In addition to serving as an aquatic scientist and conducting research as a university faculty member in Georgia, Florida and Texas, Johnson has gained over 15 years of senor leadership experience in university, non-profit and K-12 organizations, including serving as an Assistant Vice Provost at the University of Texas at Arlington, Executive Director of the Institute for Broadening Participation, CEO of STEM Human Resource Development Inc., Executive Director of the Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD’S) Professional Development and Mentoring Institute, and the CEO/Superintendent of Cirrus Academy, a state-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) charter school system in Georgia.
Johnson's honors include a U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring by President Obama at the White House, and the prestigious American Geophysical Union Excellence in Geophysical Education and Ambassador Awards. She has been described as one of “10 Black Women Changing the World via Science and Technology” by Black Enterprise Magazine, recognized as being one of “STEM’s New Guard” in an article highlighting "15 Women who are Paving the Way and Paying it Forward" in the 2018 Black History Month issue of Essence Magazine, and featured on the Black History Month series on Fox News Channel’s international Fox & Friends Show.
Johnson has been profiled in several STEM textbooks and various other publications, and has served as an invited speaker in Cambodia, Brazil, Spain, China, Mexico, as well as at several U.S. government agencies, universities, international conferences, and K-12 organizations.
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