Kristina M. Johnson, PhD is an international expert in electro-optics, liquid crystal display technology, and energy. She is an entrepreneur who puts her inventions into practice, and a self-described engineering chauvinist who is passionate about promoting women and minorities in science and engineering. Johnson grew up and attended high school in Denver, and then went on to earn all three degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She holds 45 U.S. patents and 129 U.S. and international patents for pioneering work in liquid crystal applications and displays. She is currently CEO of Enduring Hydro, a company she founded to develop clean energy from hydropower. Prior to Enduring Hydro, Johnson served as Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (2009-2010), responsible for managing a $10 billion energy portfolio of projects involving renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power, energy efficiency, smart grid, and nuclear waste.
As an educator, Johnson was the first woman Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, the largest research university in the country; the first woman dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University (1999-2007); and professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder (1985-1999). She was a founder and director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Optoelectronics Computing Systems in Boulder. Also of note during her tenure at CU, Johnson was nominated for a regional Emmy award for her production of “The Physics of Light,” a 10-part educational television series and curriculum for fifth to eighth –graders in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Kristina Johnson has co-founded several companies that apply technology pioneered at the universities where she taught and researched: KAJ, LLC, which applied technology developed at CU Boulder, and Southeast Techinventures to commercialize intellectual property developed at Duke and other southeastern universities. She and her students co-founded ColorLink, Inc., to commercialize their inventions, which resulted in helping the 3D movie industry take off in 2005 with their invention of low-cost, high-color quality 3D glasses, for movies including Avatar. ColorLink was eventually sold to RealD, which has produced hundreds of 3D movies.
Kristina Johnson has served as a director on corporate boards including Cisco, Boston Scientific, and AES Corporation. In all of her education and corporate work, she has strived to bring women and minorities into the educational institutions and the management of corporate entities. She received the prestigious international Dennis Gabor Award for creativity in modern optics (1993) and was the first woman awarded the John Fritz Medal from the American Association of Engineering Societies (2008), considered the highest award made in the engineering profession.