Faces of LIFE- Dr. Saphronia Johnson
Assistant Dean of Natural Sciences
“3 Docs and A Mic”
As Assistant Dean of Natural Sciences at Life University (Life U), Dr. Saphronia Johnson shoulders a fair amount of responsibility. She also serves as the Chair of the Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee at Life U. In addition, she actively serves on several advisory boards in the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area and has been recognized for her commitment to the social development of children and families. This challenging, community-minded work is important to Dr. Johnson, who has been breaking through barriers and adversity her entire life.
Dr. Johnson grew up in the Bay Area of California as one of 10 siblings, the eldest girl but smack dab in the middle as the fifth born. Her parents worked for the Air Force, so as an “Air Force baby,” she was actually born in Belgium before they returned to the states. Dr. Johnson has a 21-year-old daughter who is a Life U student. She also had a son that passed away at age 13 in 2011, so she initiated and supports The Savion R. Johnson Literary Arts Scholarship in honor of her son, which provides annual monetary awards for up to 12 youth, ages 13 to 18 years old, regardless of academic standing or financial need.
In regard to her personal academics, Dr. Johnson attended Johnson C. Smith University, obtaining a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology. But she didn’t stop there. Dr. Johnson continued on to the University of South Carolina to pursue her Ph.D. in Biomedicinal Chemistry. Dr. Johnson was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college, and later her Ph.D.
She made a name for herself in many academic roles and settings, including as an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Benedict College and later an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Life Chiropractic College West. Eventually, her position as Program Director of Basic Science at Gwinnett Technical College brought her to the Atlanta area and led nicely into her current position at Life U.
“I love the atmosphere. I love what Life U could be. It has so much potential to grow. It is a place where students and faculty and staff feel like they are welcome and accepted. And I am working towards that, making them feel more inclusive as well,” said Dr. Johnson. “The University has a great landscape, I love to go out and to walk it during the day, just to clear my head.”
Always innovating and trying new ways to connect and educate people, Dr. Johnson and two of her sisters decided to launch a podcast dubbed “3 Docs and A Mic,” a video podcast primarily available on YouTube described as three sisters with terminal degrees sharing their personal and professional journeys. Dr. Komoia Johnson has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Dr. Ryaja Johnson has a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology.
“3 Docs and A Mic is really about our journey, how we made it through traumatic times in our lives. It’s a very interesting set of events that led us all to the same spot, the same scenario where we all obtained a terminal degree, but our pathways are very different,” said Dr. Saphronia Johnson.
The idea of the podcast is to give people some examples of strong individuals that found ways to better themselves in order to build a community for similar stories to be shared and built upon. It was a “great learning curve” to figure out how to put the technical aspects of the podcast together, as the three women are not necessarily connected to marketing or public media. Luckily, they had other family members ready and willing to help. One of their other sisters is a graphic designer who helped with logos and graphics. Also, their brother owns Organic Gold Studios and allowed them to use the space for initial introductory videos, recording and editing assistance. It’s amazing what a family can do when they come together, “being of a large family, being able to pool many talents.”
It’s plain to see that Dr. Johnson has a lot of great projects going to keep her busy, but she knows how to remember what is important and how to succeed.
“Be grateful, humble yourself and always think out of the box,” said Dr. Johnson.
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