Kathleen R. Johnson

Kathleen R. Johnson
University of California Irvine

2016 Bromery Award for Minorities

Presented to Kathleen R. Johnson

Citation by Aradhna Tripati

Kathleen Johnson richly deserves the 2016 GSA Bromery Award for Minorities. She has contributed to the geosciences with significant research contributions and in exceptional outreach to minority students. She is a tenured faculty member at the University of California at Irvine, where she has established herself as an outstanding researcher and mentor. She is Native American, and her tireless devotion towards opening the geoscience field to Native Americans, for bringing her passion for geoscience and field work to undergraduate and graduate students, and for profoundly influencing the future of so many young people, are inspirational. Notably in 2011, she and American Indian Resource Program staff at UC Irvine obtained National Science Foundation funding to establish the American Indian Summer Institute in Earth System Science. This program has encouraged American Indian college graduates to pursue careers in geoscience and other STEM fields, with 129 participants to date from over 50 tribes.

2016 Bromery Award for Minorities — Response by Kathleen R. Johnson

I am incredibly happy and grateful to receive the 2016 Bromery Award. I would like to thank Ellen Druffel for nominating me, the letter writers for their words of support, and Aradhna Tripati for her kind citation and her unfailing dedication to enhancing diversity in the geosciences. I would also very much like to thank GSA and the Bromery family for providing this award and commend them for their dedication to honoring those who give so much of their heart and soul to building a more inclusive geoscience community. I am extremely humbled to be included in such an impressive group as the prior recipients.

As everyone in this room undoubtedly knows, tribal communities face more than their fair share of environmental challenges. Across North America, Native American and First Nations groups have been working and sometimes fighting to establish firmer control and autonomy over their land, their air, and their water. Most tribes now have tribally run environmental offices, they have increased tribal oversight of natural resource development, and they are actively working to protect their water resources and water rights. These encouraging trends, however, are taking place at the same time that Native Americans are the most underrepresented of all ethnic minorities in the earth sciences. It is for these reasons that, while I strongly value and love my paleoclimate and geochemistry research, I can truly say that it is my work with Native youth that has provided me with the most joy and hope for the future of our planet.

Of course, programs such as AISIESS are by no means a solitary effort. The AISIESS team has included numerous dedicated students, faculty, and staff with whom I would like to share this award. I would especially like to thank all of the student participants I have worked with, for continually inspiring and amazing me, and also Melissa Lewis, Joaquin Tarango, Sarah Aarons, Julie Ferguson, and Dana Link-Herrera for their hard work and dedication. Finally, I would like to dedicate this award to my late grandparents, Benjamin and Rose Greane, for instilling a sense of Native pride in me from an early age and for teaching me the importance of keeping our culture alive. Megwetch.