Here's a quick look at Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson's career

Micah Walker
The Columbus Dispatch

Kristina M. Johnson became the 16th president of Ohio State University in September 2020, replacing Michael V. Drake, who announced he was retiring but has since become the president of the University of California system.

Kristina Johnson:Ohio State president confirms she's made 'difficult decision' to resign

Prior to taking over the helm at Ohio State, Johnson, 65, had an extensive career in engineering, education and government.

Kristina M. Johnson has roots in education, entrepreneurship

Well before becoming Ohio State's 16th president, Johnson, 65, worked in optical engineering, a specialized branch of physics and engineering that uses light to determine how to build devices. She has a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, Johnson started her career as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1985.

Kristina Johnson:Ohio State president talks research, college affordability, summer reads before semester

While at the university, Johnson researched optoelectronics, a branch of technology that combines light and electronics, according to the Ohio State website. This led to the creation of several companies such as ColorLink, which pioneered new technology that relaunched the 3D movie industry. In addition, the company improved the process for mammograms and cervical-cancer screenings.

Johnson's work was recognized by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the National Academy of Engineering, and the John Fritz medal, widely regarded as the highest honor of the engineering field.

 In 1999, Johnson was named dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. She hired 55 faculty members in all, including 19 early-career award winners and three members of the National Academy of Engineering. She was praised for her efforts to bring more women and minorities to the engineering school.

Kristina M. Johnson and CFP board:Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson named to CFP's Board of Managers

Then in 2007, Johnson became the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. While there, she launched the MOSAIC Initiative to recruit underrepresented faculty.

Working in the Obama administration

In 2009, Johnson was selected by former President Barack Obama to serve as undersecretary of energy in the U.S. Department of Energy.

During her time with the Obama administration, she managed a $10.5 billion energy and environmental portfolio and helped pinpoint the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon spill, according to Ohio State.

Then-SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, right, presents the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence to SUNY Corning (New York) Community College nursing student Samantha Orr, center, with college President Katherine Douglas, left, in this 2019 provided photo.

As SUNY chancellor, recruiting people of color, women continued

In 2017, Johnson became the 13th chancellor for the State University of New York, better known as SUNY, which is a system of public colleges and universities in New York state.

During her time at SUNY, Johnson increased two-year community college graduation rates by 22%, cut in half the number of students requiring remediation before starting college credit-bearing coursework, saved students $47 million in textbook costs over three years and established a goal to hire 1,000 underrepresented minorities and women in STEM by 2030.

Johnson also partnered with the New York Power Authority to secure 100% renewable electricity at SUNY by 2023.

She never saw that goal reached, however, as she departed SUNY to take over the helm at Ohio State in September 2020.

Dispatch reporter Sheridan Hendrix contributed to this story.