Photo credit: Dean Riggott

Steps toward a better world
The University of Minnesota Rochester's Krysjahn Johnson on changing the picture of what a Black person can be.

Krysjahn Johnson knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but she wasn’t sure how or where she’d do it. In high school, her plans become more focused as she delved into research from the Mayo Clinic for school projects. “Some of the research was really intriguing, and I wanted to be a part of it,” she says.

That interest led Johnson, who grew up in Tennessee and Indiana, to the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), where she’s majoring in health sciences with a minor in in speech, language, and hearing sciences. She also works as a lab assistant at Mayo Clinic and serves as a UMR ambassador, giving tours to prospective students.

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In 2020, she was chosen as one of the first recipients of the University of Minnesota Scholarship in honor of George Floyd, established by U of M President Joan Gabel shortly after Floyd’s memorial service.

“I really appreciated that the president was willing to take those steps,” says Johnson. “Many times, when we have injustices in America, we wonder, ‘Is anyone actually going to do something about it?’ Beyond the money of the scholarship, beyond the assistance, it was nice to know that this tragic story was being acknowledged.”

Johnson plans to earn a Ph.D. and eventually become an audiologist working with patients in a clinical setting. “The best thoughts and ideas are in a diverse group of people,” she says. “I hope to be a pioneer in making sure that there’s all different kinds of faces and bodies in every type of job. I think that will make America and the world, in general, a better place.”

Hear more from Krysjahn Johnson. 

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