The Institute - June 2021 - 64

Ohio State's College
of Engineering
by the Numbers
and Colorado State University, in Fort
Collins. The center focuses on creating
optoelectronic devices and systems
for computing signal processing and
artificial intelligence.
It was at the engineering center
graduate and
engineering programs among
all Ohio universities
in the country
for industry
research and development
that she and a team of researchers and
graduate students developed the technology
behind the RealD 3D projection
system, which has been used in more
than 300 movies including Avatar.
RealD uses stereoscopic projection
technology and polarization optics to
create three-dimensional images.
Her work at the engineering
center reinforced her commitment to
increasing cross-disciplinary research.
It was a point of focus when in 1999
she became dean of the Pratt School of
Engineering at Duke, in Durham, N.C.
Johnson tripled research funding
and increased the university's endowment
tenfold. Some of the money was
used to establish the Fitzpatrick Center
for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine,
and Applied Sciences.
" When you take on really big problems
that are important to society,
they're going to require understanding
from multiple disciplines, " she says.
She also increased the percentThe
undergraduate class
incudes 23 percent female,
10 percent underrepresented
minorities, and 6 percent
international students
age of women on the faculty from
6 percent to 19 percent, according to
her Ohio State biography.
" I love engineering, and I want everybody
to be an engineer, " Johnson says.
" We should be welcoming to anyone
and everyone and ensure that anybody
can maximize their inherent talent. "
She took her desire to advance
She is an advocate for having a
diverse faculty and student body,
erasing student debt, and increasing
interdisciplinary research.
Making her mark
Johnson began her academic career
in 1985 at the University of Colorado
at Boulder as an assistant professor of
electrical and computer engineering.
In 1987 she and engineering professor
W. Thomas Cathey received a
U.S. National Science Foundation grant
to establish the Engineering Research
Center for optoelectronic computing
systems at the University of Colorado
JUNE 2021
cross-disciplinary research and
diversity with her when she moved to
Baltimore in 2007 to become provost
and senior vice president at Johns
Hopkins, and to the State University
of New York, where she became chancellor
in 2017.
Johnson launched Promoting
Recruiting Opportunity, Diversity,
Inclusion, and Growth, a SUNY
program that aims to increase the
number of faculty members from
underrepresented groups and female
teachers in STEM fields at the university's
64 campuses.
Johnson was appointed president
of Ohio State in July. While
aiming to increase diversity and
cross-disciplinary research at the university,
she hopes to improve academic
performance and reduce student debt.
Saving the environment
Johnson took a break from academia in
2009, when she was appointed undersecretary
in the U.S. Department of
Energy by President Barack Obama.
" It was challenging, " she says of the
position. " But it was great to be able to
fund important clean-energy research,
and support technology for the secretary
[Steven Chu], the president, and
the people. "
In April 2010, Johnson dealt with
one of the largest environmental
disasters in U.S. history: the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico. The government struggled to
determine how much oil was being
discharged into the ocean.
Johnson came up with the idea to
use particle image velocimetry, a laser
optical measurement technique, to
estimate at what rate the oil was spilling
into the sea.
" PIV allows you to measure fluid
velocity using particles in the [water]
flow, using a double-exposure hologram, "
she says. " Once you determine
the velocity, then you know how much
oil is coming out. "
After her term ended in 2010,
Johnson tried her hand at being an
In 2011 she founded Enduring
Hydro, which worked to build and
support the hydropower industry.
In 2014 the startup partnered with
I Squared Capital-an investment firm
that specializes in energy-to build,
buy, and operate hydroelectric power
plants in North America with the goal
of producing enough clean energy to
fully power 150,000 homes. She served
as CEO of the joint venture-Cube
Hydro Partners-until 2017, when she
joined SUNY.
Connecting through IEEE
Johnson's father and grandfather were
IEEE members.
She says IEEE is a great way " to
bring people together around common
interests and common goals, " and
she values " being part of the largest
professional society in the world. "

The Institute - June 2021

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