On land, sea, and in the air, Black people have and continue to accomplish highly—despite historic and present-day challenges. Dr. Ashanti Johnson exemplifies this truth as an oceanographer, and first Black woman to earn a PhD in chemical oceanography at Texas A & M University, Galveston. It was her 3rd grade dolphin project, followed by relentless encouragement from 2 teachers, that inspired her interest in mastering knowledge of the seas.
While Johnson has earned a host of science awards, her commitment to helping others achieve similarly may be one of her most enduring distinctions. Recalling a sentiment she developed en route to becoming an oceanographer, Johnson stated,“My experience at Texas A&M for grad school is when I initially decided that I would make it easier for others. I wanted to ensure that they would not have to struggle and do all of the proving that I had to do without a support system.”
Dr. Johnson’s commitment to bringing others along as she climbs represents a cultural value that has long served people of African descent. Responsibility for oneself in relationship to the collective well-being of others is a fundamental way of being that regenerates and sustains life. To learn more about the brilliant oceanographer who has made it her business to help others, click here.