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National Academies appoints UT Arlington faculty associate to Gulf of Mexico committee

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Media Contact: Traci Peterson

News Topics: environment, faculty, science

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Ashanti Johnson, a faculty research associate in The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science, has been appointed to a 24-member panel creating a strategic vision for the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf of Mexico program.

Ashanti Johnson

Ashanti Johnson

The Gulf of Mexico program is a $500 million, 30-year endeavor established as part of the settlements of federal criminal complaints against BP and Transocean Ltd. following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. It will focus on human health, environmental protection and oil system safety and will fund and carry out studies, projects, and activities in research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring.

The new advisory committee, which includes 23 other leaders from around the country, “will articulate the program's mission, goals, and objectives – including preliminary thinking about metrics to measure its impacts – and outline how the program will operate in the first three to five years,” according to a news release from the National Academies.

Johnson said she is looking forward to helping shape the future of the Gulf of Mexico and the United States’ Outer Continental Shelf.

“I am honored to have been asked to participate in such an important activity that will have a long-lasting impact on the stewardship of our coastal and marine resources,” said Johnson, who joined UT Arlington in 2011. “It is my hope that as a member of this group I can make a valuable contribution as an oceanographer, educator and mother who is committed to engaging in activities that result in the preservation of our natural resources and the preparation of our children to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Other members of the advisory group include professors, university administrators, environmental foundation representatives and a representative from the Chevron Corporation. More information is available online at The National Academies website,

Johnson also is executive director of the Institute for Broadening Participation, a Maine-based organization dedicated to increasing minority access to science, math and engineering careers. She has received numerous national recognitions for her work, including a 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science, noted: “The Gulf of Mexico program has the resources to be a major force for research, monitoring and education. Dr. Johnson’s appointment to the advisory committee adds to her long list of national honors and gives her a hand in guiding this vital work.”

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution with about 33,800 student and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. For more information, please visit


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