Education, Engineering & Race Seminar Series: Odis Johnson

Jul 30
1:30 p.m.
Virtual event

The McKelvey School of Engineering will host a series of events discussing race and STEM education. The first event will be held at noon on Thursday, July 30.

Odis Johnson will present "#ShutDownSTEM: Connecting Race and Policing to STEM Inequities."

Johnson is a professor of sociology and education; director of the Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed Methodologies (ICQCM); and associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity.

All seminars will be followed by 30 minutes of moderated breakout groups

Register here:


On June 10, researchers around the world observed the call to #ShutDownSTEM in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts to end the systemic racism that ended the lives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. One might ask, "what does racism in policing have to do with STEM and its quest to diversify?" This presentation answers this question by revealing how the criminalization of students of color within elementary and secondary schools negatively impacts their math scores, likelihood of dropping out, and college entry. These observations are supported by the examination of multiple national longitudinal databases using machine learning estimated propensity score matching techniques to strengthen our inferences, and multilevel statistical modeling to estimate school and individual level population parameters. The presentation concludes with a discussion of how recognizing and mitigating systemic racism is essential to the development of a healthy and robust STEM workforce.


Odis Johnson Jr., PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Education, Founding Director of the Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed Methodologies (ICQCM), and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to his current appointments, Dr. Johnson chaired the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland. His work on the interrelated topics of neighborhoods, social policy, and race have been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, William T. Grant Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation, and have positioned Dr. Johnson as a leader within national efforts to close the data science divide in our nation's research apparatus. He currently is the principal investigator of the Fatal Interactions with Police Study (FIPS) which has generated a national data file of police homicides, and three NSF-funded studies that examine how strategies to maintain law and order in neighborhoods and schools impact the representation of race-gender groups within the School-to-Prison and STEM pipelines. Dr. Johnson's work and ideas about social change have been featured in prominent media outlets, including Oprah Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, The Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Teen Vogue, The Associated Press, Vox, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, SiriusXM, and a variety of international and local news outlets.