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Johnson-Winters named to national science organization panel
Kayunta Johnson-Winters, UTA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been appointed to a prestigious position with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).
Johnson-Winters was named to the ASBMB Nominating Committee, which nominates society members to stand for election to ASBMB administrative roles including president, council, and various committees. She is one of three Nominating Committee members to be elected by society members.
“I sought this position because I want to contribute to an organization that has not only supported my own growth as a scientist and faculty member but has, more importantly, been very intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion and has shown unwavering support for all, including people of color and the LBGTQ community,” Johnson-Winters said. “Such support through programs, mentorship, outreach and engagement is critical for the future of our profession, and I look forward to bringing my experiences and expertise to further assist and support the membership of the ASBMB through service on this committee.”
Johnson-Winters said her goal as a member of the Nominating Committee will be to “cast a wider net to attract a broader group of people to the ASBMB, while enhancing that sense of belonging for women scientists of all backgrounds.” She also would like to help increase overall society membership and participation at annual meetings, while creating career-development workshops for members at all career levels.
“I have received much support and have felt such a sense of belonging in the ASBMB community and now want to give back and enable others to receive the same and greater support through my service to the organization,” she said.
For the past four years, Johnson-Winters served as a member of the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee.
“It has been a privilege to be a member of ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee since 2017,” she said. “This opportunity has been an amazing learning experience and has allowed me to champion issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEM, areas about which I have a deep and abiding passion.”
Johnson-Winters has worked tirelessly to promote DEI issues in higher education. At UTA she served as director of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program from 2018-20 and as organizer and faculty advisor of the College of Science Black Graduate Student Association, which provides extensive mentoring for underrepresented and first-generation STEM students.
Since 2018, she has served on the executive committee of UTA’s Women’s Faculty and Staff Network (WFSN). She has served as the WFSN faculty co-chair since 2020. The WFSN advocates for opportunities to advance the professional development of female faculty and staff in research, teaching, and service, while balancing their personal, career, physical, and mental health demands.
“It has been my mission to increase diversity and shed light on issues for faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds,” she said.
Johnson-Winters won a Silver Award in the Editorial/Opinion Piece division from the Software & Information Industry Association’s 41st Annual AM&P Network EXCEL Awards in 2021. The award was for her essay, “Being Black in the ivory tower,” which appeared in the ASBMB Today journal.
She also received the Professor of the Year Award from the Arlington Sunrise Rotary Club in 2019; and both the Advisor of the Year Award and the Faculty Advisor/Organization of the Year Award for the College of Science Black Graduate Student Association from UTA Division of Student Affairs in 2019. In 2007-09 she received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.
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