Co-Founder, Sportin’ the Grades Nonprofit Organization, President and CEO, Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success Professional Development Institute, and Chief Executive Officer, Cirrus Academy
Sportin’ the Grades Nonprofit Organization; Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success Professional Development Institute; and Cirrus Academy
Ashanti Johnson is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on STEM professional development, diversity and women in STEM topics. In her interview “Women Exploring Oceans”, 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, received her Ph.D. in 1999 in Oceanography from Texas A&M University and throughout her college and professional career has 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 senior leadership experience in universities, 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 PHDs) 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. Her honors include a US 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.
Johnson has been profiled in Wikipedia, several STEM textbooks and various other publications and has served as a speaker in Cambodia, Brazil, Spain, China, Mexico, and several US government agencies, universities, international conferences and K-12 organizations. In 2016, Black Enterprise Magazine described her as one of “10 Black Women Changing the World via Science and Technology” and Fox News Channel’s international Fox & Friends show featured her during its 2016 Black History Month series. In the February 2018 Black History Month issue of Essence Magazine, Johnson is recognized as being one of “STEM’s New Guard” in an article highlighting “15 Women who are Paving the Way and Paying it Forward.”