White House honors USF St. Petersburg professor as outstanding mentor
An assistant professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg is among more than 100 educators being honored at the White House on Wednesday for excellence in teaching and mentoring in mathematics and science.
Ashanti Johnson is executive director of the Institute for Broadening Participation and assistant professor of chemical oceanography at the College of Marine Science at USF St. Petersburg. She is one of 19 individual mentors and three mentoring organizations to be recognized by President Obama. Nearly 90 teachers from around the country also are being honored.
The recognition comes as part of the president’s second “Educate to Innovate” campaign for excellence in science, technology, engineering and math education.
Johnson is one of four individuals from Florida and the only educator from Tampa Bay to be honored.
Johnson, who has served on the U.S. National Science Foundation’s advisory committee on environmental research and education, came up with a program to create a community of scientists to assist students with their professional development. She also founded Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science.
Candidates for the presidential mentoring award can be nominated by fellow faculty members, administrators or students. Nominated mentors can work with students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts, according to USF.
Richard Danielson, Times staff writer