|Ashanti Johnson (Photo: Steve McAlister)
Topics: African Americans, Diaspora, Diversity, Diversity in Science, History, Women in Science
Ashanti Johnson, Ph. D.
University of South Florida,
College of Marine Science
Studying soil and sedimentation of rivers, estuaries, and beaches, Ashanti Johnson’s work as an aquatic radiogeochemist was instrumental in decoding the environmental effects of potentially hazardous incidents throughout Puerto Rico.
Johnson can be found scouring the beaches of RincÃ³n, where a nuclear power plant operated until the 1970s, or collecting soil samples in Vieques, where depleted uranium residue remained for years following an artillery firing range run by the U.S. Navy. “These problems have been investigated very little," says Johnson. “It takes a lot of dedication and is really labor intensive. You get muddy, you get wet, and at the end of the day, you’re happy to have processed your samples."
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science and a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from Texas A&M University. Her Ph.D. work helped assess whether nuclear waste released in the Arctic by the former Soviet Union migrated toward the Alaskan coastline. She also spent a short time working at Exxon as a geochemist before venturing back into teaching at Georgia Tech and Savannah State University.
Dr. Ashanti Johnson, Marcia Wade Talbert, Black Enterprise: Women in STEM