Prof earns national award

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo of Robert C. Johnson

Robert C. Johnson will be honored for his service to students with a national award.

Ethnic Studies Professor Robert C. Johnson will receive the inaugural Robert L. Perry Mentorship Award Friday in New Orleans for his summer mentoring programs for young people who may not otherwise perceive themselves as future college students.

The National Association of Ethnic Studies (NAES) award honors talented professionals who devote countless hours mentoring students and faculty, said Connie A. Jacobs, one of the award committee members.

Perry was a pioneer in the field of ethnic studies, leading one of the first college programs that evolved into a full-fledged department. Among Perry's academic postings was a 27-year stint at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. View a summary of Perry and the award (PDF).

“Your nominators, from a student to the president of your university, praised you for your work, which was cited as ‘legendary,’ and recognized the role you played in helping students become the successful people that they are today,” Jacobs wrote in a letter to Johnson announcing the award. “Your impressive vitae details the many programs you have developed that have been instrumental in providing students, especially minority students, with opportunities to transform their lives.”

For 25 years Johnson’s residential math-science-computer camps have provided life-altering experiences to more than 3,200 students from grade 2 to grade 12. The camps serve demographic groups which have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, including those from ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds, low- or moderate-income families and a high proportion of females.

The camps also serve as a pipeline to higher education for a significant number of participants by exposing them to campus life and the opportunities of education.

Johnson’s work is supported by a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities grant that promotes access and opportunity.

Perry will present Johnson with the award at the 40th anniversary of the NAES conference.

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