Shop Windows to the Universe

The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Roberta M. Johnson

Professor, University at Albany
Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Science
Executive Director, National Earth Science Teachers Association
(Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1987)

University at Albany Address:
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: 518-442-4561
email: rjohnson5@albany.edu

NESTA Mailing Address:
PO Box 20854
Boulder, CO  80308-3854
email: rmjohnsn@nestanet.org

I'm a faculty member in the University at Albany Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Science focusing on environmental science, climate change, geoscience education and science literacy.  I'm also the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association and the Founder of the Windows to the Universe project,  My role in Windows to the Universe is mainly to deal with all the management and administrative issues, and to work on development of the site.  This includes a new project to develop an undergraduate level of the website, which I will be undertaking beginning fall 2012 with colleagues at the University at Albany. I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of really creative, dedicated people who really enjoy working to build and maintain a science education web site that serves so many people on a daily basis.

I was born and raised in California, and grew up in the Los Angeles area. Although my interests as a kid and young adult focused on history, archaeology, and linguistics, I ended up following the advice of my parents (who helped pay the bills) and went into science. I developed a particular interest in the idea of applying concepts of physics to the Earth around us as well as in climate changes in the distant past, and decided to get my degree in Geophysics and Space Physics. I attended the University of California at Los Angeles and received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Geophysics and Space Physics in 1980 (cum laude), 1984, and 1987, respectively.

After getting my Ph.D., I became a Research Physicist at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA in 1987. In that position, I was a member of a group responsible for operation of the Sondre Stromfjord incoherent scatter radar (ISR), funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF). I've spent a lot of time studying the upper atmosphere at ionosphere, particularly at high latitudes, and have had the opportunity to visit some facinating and far away locales in the pursuit of my research. In 1989, I joined the Space Physics Research Laboratory of the University of Michigan as a Research Scientist where I remained until 2000. During this time I initiated the Windows to the Universe project, with the help of colleagues from across the country, and was also the Director of the Michigan Space Grant Consortium from 1995 through 2000. I joined the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder Colorado in June of 2000 as the Director of the Education and Outreach program as well as a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's High Altitude Observatory. In 2006, I was appointed Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA). NESTA is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1983, whose purpose is the advancement, stimulation, extension, improvement, and coordination of Earth Science education at all educational levels. In 2010, I moved my appointment to NESTA as Executive Director and CEO of Windows to the Universe.  Most recently, in August 2012, I joined the faculty at the University at Albany.

Along the way, I've continued to pursue research interests in several areas, including modeling and analysis of aspects of the coupled magnetosphere ionosphere thermosphere system, paleoclimatology, isotope geochemistry and atmospheric chemistry. I've directed the research of Ph.D. and Masters degree students. I have served on numerous advisory boards for projects in science education, outreach, and diversity, and have extensive experience advising the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and a variety of professional societies. I recently chaired the Ad Hoc Review Panel on Science Education for the International Council for Science (ICSU) and serve as an education consultant to the Future Earth project.  I'm involved in numerous committees that work to bring the geosciences to students and teachers through professional societies, as well as an advisor on specific projects, and have ongoing collaborations with numerous colleagues and organizations working on geoscience education and science literacy efforts. I am currently serving as a member of the Climate Change Education Roundtable of the National Academies of Science.

I'm married and have three spectacular children. My greatest joy is being their mom, but I also enjoy gardening, cooking, sewing, needlecrafts, camping, and travelling. I've always been interested in history, art, languages, climate, and archaeology, and really enjoy bringing together resources within Windows to the Universe that highlight the connections between science, space and the human experience. I hope you enjoy our site!

Last modified January 14, 2011 by Roberta Johnson.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Classroom Tools to Explore the Past, Present and Future of Climate Change

Welcome to the online resources for our ever-popular NSTA workshop! This web portal is intended to provide the web links and additional information to those who attended our workshop at a recent NSTA...more

Classroom Tools to Explore the Past, Present and Future of Climate Change

Welcome to the online resources for our Climate Change workshop! This web portal is intended to provide the web links and additional information to those who attended our workshop at the Exhibit Museum....more

Playing with Ecosystem Science: Informal Modeling Games to Explore the Delicate Balance

Welcome to the online resources for our NSTA workshop, Playing with Ecosystem Science! This web portal is intended to provide the links and additional information to those who attended our workshop at...more

Web Seminars

Windows to the Universe and NESTA offer occasional web seminars on a variety of topics in Earth and space science. See the table below for upcoming web seminars - click on the registration link to register...more

Polsintoovly

Polsintoovly, the Bird God, joined the Windows team in May of 1999. Also known as Chris Gleason, this graduate of the University of Michigan became well versed in world mythology while working on the mythology...more

Sandra Henderson

Hi there! I am a science educator with the Windows to the Universe project. Mostly, I work on the classroom activities and help lead our professional development efforts for teachers. It is very rewarding...more

Marina LaGrave

Ms. Marina LaGrave served as a Spanish translator on the Windows to the Universe project from ~2003 to 2010.  Because she does not have an academic background in science, her translations were checked...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA