Dr. Roosevelt Y. Johnson, senior advisor for NASA Education, is a member of the senior management team responsible for the development and implementation of NASA’s education programs to strengthen involvement and public awareness about the agency’s scientific goals and missions. Johnson was formerly deputy associate administrator for education at NASA Headquarters.
Johnson is the U.S. representative on the International Space Education Board, a global collaboration in space education between NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Centre National d'Études Spatiales. The ISEB shares best practices and unites efforts to foster interest in space, science and technology among the student community worldwide.
During his career, Johnson has been a champion and leader of groundbreaking efforts to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. For more than 20 years, he served as a program director for the National Science Foundation (NSF), working to increase the participation and advancement of underrepresented minorities, women and girls, persons with disabilities, and minority-serving institutions in science and engineering disciplines as well as promoting innovative and transformative STEM education program development at a national level.
Johnson’s academic and administrative breadth and depth have been demonstrated through his service in every division of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources, including the Human Resource Development division, the Division of Graduate Education, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. He also represented NSF on government wide committees, including serving as a U.S. representative at NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship meetings.
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1968 and earned his doctoral degree in microbiology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1972. Following a two-year tenure as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, Johnson began an academic career that has included faculty positions at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington; Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.; Howard University College of Liberal Arts; and the University of Washington (visiting professor). Johnson also has served as an official collaborator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Johnson has received the Compact for Faculty Diversity Frank Abbott Award for outstanding leadership and support of minority STEM graduates; the Benjamin Banneker Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to increasing the number of African Americans involved in STEM professions and studies; and Science Spectrum Magazine’s Emerald Honors Award for excellence in affirmative action.