Dr. Elizabeth Joy Johnson, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Dissertation Title: Structures and Phenanthrene Sorption Behavior of Plant Cuticles and Soil Humic Substances
MS in Plant and Soil Sciences from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Thesis Title: Soils, Geochemistry, Hydrology and Vegetation Along a Wet Meadow Hydrosequence in Western Massachusetts
BS in Earth and Environmental Science from Lehigh University
Dr. Johnson was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at Post University from August, 2006 through September 2010. In October, 2010, she was promoted to Academic Program Manager for Environmental Science, and is now responsible for course material and curricular development in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies and Physics. She has developed many of the new course offerings in Environmental Science, including: Soils in Our Environment, Ecological Field Methods, Writing in the Sciences and Exploring Environmental Issues. She also redesigned Exploring Environmental Issues for deployment in an online format. In addition to the courses listed above, Dr. Johnson teaches: Environmental Science A Global Concern, Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Ethics, and Sustainable Development. Before coming to Post, Dr. Johnson worked as a Teaching Assistant and then became an Instructor within the Environmental Science Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Post University Environmental Science Academic
Program Manager Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., was
the keynote speaker at the recent Beacon Falls
Community Forum. This 2-day educational event,
hosted by the Beacon Falls Conservation
Commission, featured an array of environmental
presentations and science activities. To watch a
video about the event, click here.
Before joining the faculty at Post University, Dr. Johnson worked as a Wetland Delineator for a private consulting firm in Massachusetts and as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Association. This background in field methods has permitted her to design innovative, exciting field activities, and to bring a real world policy and consulting background into the classroom.
Currently, Dr. Johnson is an assistant editor for Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, as well as a consultant for Wiley and Sons Publishing, designing PowerPoint lectures and editing textbooks.
Dr. Johnson’s teaching philosophy is summed up well by a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “If you tell me, I will forget. If you show me, I will remember. If you involve me, I will understand.” The goal of Dr. Johnson’s multi-media, hands-on teaching style is to involve students in the material they are learning, in the hopes that they will not only remember the material, but gain and lifelong understanding and appreciation of it. Dr. Johnson regards teaching as an opportunity to inspire and motivate students to push themselves beyond what they believe to be their academic and/or personal capabilities.
Dr. Johnson grew up in upstate New York with her parents and two brothers. One of her family’s favorite vacation spots was a small island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. She learned to appreciate the intricacies of ecology and the environment while spending two weeks each summer on this lake. At Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, Dr. Johnson chose to study Earth and Environmental Sciences. After participating in internships associated with wetlands, she found her calling. She pursued her MS at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Plant and Soil Sciences where she studied the correlation between hydrology, vegetation and soils along a wet meadow hydrosequence. For her Ph.D. work, she chose to focus her research efforts on soil chemistry by assessing how phenanthrene (a relatively simple organic chemical used in herbicides and pesticides) attached to organic material in the soil.
Outside of academia, Dr. Johnson enjoys cycling with her husband and two children on the local rail trails, training for running events, hiking in the woods, throwing the ball for her yellow lab in the backyard, and smelling the scent of fresh earth when digging the soil.
Dr. Johnson’s dissertation research (completed in 2006) focused on the chemical and structural characterization of plant cuticular materials, and how through humification, their structures degrade to represent the aliphatic components in soil organic material. A secondary objective to her work involved monitoring the phenanthrene sorption behavior of both fresh and decomposed cuticular materials and their correlation to the sorption behaviors exhibited by humic acids and humin in soil organic materials. This project provided Dr. Johnson with an excellent insight into environmental organic chemistry, and allowed her to establish herself in the academic community, through both journal publications and professional conference presentations.
Currently, Dr. Johnson is participating in a three-year research project on the application of the current hydric soil indicators to three New England vernal pools (two in Massachusetts, and one in Connecticut) in conjunction with colleagues at UMass Amherst. The results have been presented at National Conferences. Each summer, Post University students have been involved in the data collection and assessment for internship credit.
Soil Science Society of America
Soil Science Society of Southern New England
Association of Women Soil Scientists
Society of Wetlands Scientists
Sigma Xi Science Research Honor Society
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
Johnson, E.J., B. Chefetz and B. Xing. 2007. Spectroscopic Characterization of Aliphatic moieties in four plant cuticles. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 38 (17): 2461-2478.
Chen, B., E.J. Johnson, B. Chefetz, L. Zhu, and B. Xing. 2005. Sorption of polar and nonpolar aromatic organic contaminants by plant cuticular materials: the role of polarity and accessibility. Environmental Science and Technology. 39 (16):6138-6146.
Liu, Xiao, E.J. Johnson, P.L.M. Veneman, B. Xing. 2003. Importance of hydrology, soil and vegetation in wetland research. Wetland Science. 1(2):128-135.
Picking, D., P.L.M. Veneman, L.A. Spokas, E.J. Johnson and E. Stockman. 2010. Vernal Pool Hydrology in Southern New England. Paper presented at the Society of Wetland Scientists conference in Salt Lake City, UT.
Spokas, L.A., E. Stockman, and E.J. Johnson. 2009. Do Vernal Pools Have Hydric Soils? Paper Presented at the International Conferences of the American Society of Agronomy in Pittsburg, PA.
Johnson, E.J., E. Stockman, L.A. Spokas, and P. Veneman. 2009. Evaluation of Hydric Soil Indicators in New England Vernal Pools. Poster presented at the Society of Wetland Scientists Conference in Madison, WI.
Johnson, E.J. and B. Xing. 2006. Contribution of plant cuticular materials to humic materials in soil. Paper presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Indianapolis, IN.
Johnson, E.J., B. Xing and B. Chefetz. 2006. Effect of decomposition on structural characteristics and sorption behavior of aliphatic plant cuticular materials. Paper presented at the Humic Science and Technology IX Conference in Boston, MA.
Johnson, E.J., B. Xing and B. Chefetz. 2005. The effect of decomposition on characteristics and sorption behavior of aliphatic plant cuticular materials. Paper presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Salt Lake City, UT.
Johnson, E.J. and B. Xing. 2005. Characterization of plant cuticular material using 13C NMR and ATR. Paper presented at the Northeast Branch Conference of American Society of Agronomy in Storrs, CT.
Johnson, E.J. and B. Xing. 2002. The role of aliphatic moieties in the sorption of organic contaminants in SOM. Poster presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Denver, CO.
Johnson, E.J., P.L.M. Veneman and D. Picking. 2002. Soils and hydrology along a wet meadow hydrosequence in western Massachusetts. Paper presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Indianapolis, IN.
Blanchet, E.J., P.L.M. Veneman and D. Picking. 2001. Soils and geochemistry along a wet meadow hydrosequence in western Massachusetts. Poster presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Charlotte, NC.
Blanchet, E.J., P.L.M. Veneman and D. Picking. 2001. Soils, hydrology and vegetation in a western Massachusetts floodplain wetland. Poster presented at the international conference of the Society of Wetland Scientists in Chicago, IL.
Blanchet, E.J., P.L.M. Veneman and D. Picking. 2000. Soils and hydrology in a Massachusetts floodplain wetland. Poster presented at the international conference of the American Society of Agronomy in Minneapolis, MN.
Blanchet, E.J., P.L.M. Veneman and D. Picking. 2000. Vegetation patterns associated with wetland hydrology. Poster presented that the international conference of the Society of Wetland Scientists in Quebec City, Quebec.