For over three decades, Doug Johnson has been leaving his mark on Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Physics and Astronomy through eye-popping demonstrations, a well-supplied stockroom, and clean, organized labs.
His “Physics Magic Shows,” an annual tradition for more than 20 years, introduce students to principles such as electromagnetism, conservation of energy and resonance with demonstrations that use high-voltage devices, glowing gases, bicycle wheels and glass-shattering sound waves.
Johnson was recognized as the Provost’s Award Staff Member of the Year at Fall Conference for his service to the university. The accolade is intended to recognize staff members from the Division of Academic Affairs who have distinguished themselves in advancing the mission of the university.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker and he always puts students first. In a way, he’s almost a joint instructor,” says Brian Jersky, dean of the College of Science. “His passion is educating the students. He’s a tower of strength to the faculty, staff and students in the physics department and across the college, and he’s a truly nice person as well.”
Johnson began his career at Cal Poly Pomona in 1979 in the electronics and computer engineering department. He moved to physics and astronomy shortly after. By 1990, he had become head technician for the department.
In 1994, he founded the Southern California Physics Technician Association, which meets twice a year to provide support and networking opportunities to physics technical staff from colleges and universities throughout the region. He’s also served as president of the Physics Instructional Resource Association.
“He’s really grown in the job,” says Steve McCauley, chair of the physics and astronomy department. “He started off doing basic technical support.”
Johnson “absolutely deserves” the award, McCauley says.
“Doug is extremely trustworthy and he always goes out of his way to help people here,” McCauley says. “He’s an inspiration to many people here in the department.”
Johnson was recognized with the Cal Poly Pomona Outstanding Staff award in 1992 and also received the College of Science Outstanding Staff award in 2003.
The Provost’s Award Staff Member of the Year was presented during the Service Awards on Monday, Sept. 21.
For more information on the award, visit https://www.cpp.edu/~academic-affairs/staff-awards/index.shtml.