Alumni Profile: Robert Johnson, MS ’12 ESP

During winter break, we caught up with Environmental Science & Policy alumnus Robert Johnson, who is now the Director of Sustainability at NOVA. Learn more about him in this profile.

Photo courtesy of Robert Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Robert Johnson.

Name: Robert Johnson

Mason Degree: MS, Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) 2012

Occupation: Director of Sustainability at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

I chose Mason because…when I started in 2007/2008, it was affordable for me and one of the few schools in the area to offer an achievable Environmental Science Master’s degree.

My favorite Mason memory is…teaching meaningful watershed field experiences in Prince William County, which ultimately became the foundation for my thesis.

Professionally, I’m most proud to…see projects come to fruition and help other people make their big ideas a reality.

My tips for current undergraduate or graduate students are to…try to identify what you’re interested in and steer your studies that way; actively seek an adviser; don’t settle; take advantage of all of the opportunities Mason has to offer.

More from the Interview with COS

Are you currently involved in any career-related organizations?
I am the NOVA point of contact for the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE); the US Green Building Council (USGBC); and the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE).

You are NOVA’s first sustainability officer. What has it been like working there?
So far, it’s been an eye-opening experience in understanding how internal processes and relationships impact decisions, project execution, and achieving long-term, strategic objectives.

How do you practice sustainability in your personal life?
I live in a townhouse community less than 10 miles from my main work-site; review home electric, gas, and water use and take active steps to reduce usage; tend to reduce or eliminate new purchases; reuse and recycle as much as possible; introduce and implement as many sustainability projects at NOVA; try to get outside as much as possible; willing to talk to any audience about what sustainability means to them / their field.

Interesting Fact: I’ve played ultimate Frisbee since 1990.