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Arnold School of Public Health

Staff Spotlight: Shania Johnson

March 8, 2023 | Erin Bluvas,

Shania Johnson has called Columbia home since she was six, when her extended family moved to the capitol city together for the opportunities and environment it offered. Following her high school graduation, she studied experimental psychology at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

“After being a student affiliate of USC, it made sense to continue learning and working in an educational setting,” Johnson says.

Her first post-graduate position was as an educator specialist with the Department of Education. A year later, she rejoined USC – this time with the Arnold School on the Columbia campus. For the past year, Johnson has worked as an administrative assistant with the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS).

“I do a little bit of everything that involves maintaining the workflow of the department,” she says. “This means I must know the basics of everyone’s roles in the department in case someone is out, so a lot of training and research is a part of the job.”

Other duties include scheduling meetings, conducting inventory, creating the master schedule, maintaining department vehicles, processing travel documents and reimbursement, handling mail flow and more. She works closely with Destine Rivers (see her staff spotlight story), who serves as the business manager for the department as well as its two federally-funded centers: the Centers for Ocean and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions (OHHC2I) and the South Carolina SmartState Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk (CENR).

“Shania has been a great asset to the team, and we are glad to have her,” Rivers says. “She has learned so much during her time here, and we are proud of her.”

Johnson’s favorite part about her position is the workflow, networking opportunities and the organized environment – something she’s translated into her role as a mom. She’s also a big fan of the staff retreats hosted by the Arnold School’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

“I believe the DEI workshop I’ve attended, had to be the most enlightening and inclusive bonding experience I’ve attended in a workplace setting, and I’ve been to several,” says Johnson. “Being a psych head, I love a good discussion on perspectives, and how they affect behaviors especially in the work environment.”

Soon, Johnson plans to take advantage of USC’s faculty/staff tuition assistance program to pursue a master’s degree. She’s interested in studying social work with a long-term goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. 

“Any goal is achievable if you’re will to make necessary sacrifices and stay the course,” Johnson says. “Make life work for you and roll with the punches.”

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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