A Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GAFCS) award is helping Dr. Linda Johnson, a Fort Valley State University associate professor of food and nutrition, to grow a national program in need of educators by encouraging students to “Say Yes to FCS.”
A recipient of the 2018 Julius Benton Professional Improvement Award, Johnson received $500 during the GAFCS annual conference at the University of Georgia (UGA) Griffin campus. The monetary award will go toward promoting “Say Yes to FCS: Filling the Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Pipeline.”
Johnson said the national initiative, led by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), aims to help attract new students to FCS programs. “It has a number of different facets to it, and I hope to incorporate it more and more into my courses and recruitment activities,” she said.
According to AAFCS, there is a huge demand for FCS educators in secondary schools, Cooperative Extension and higher education. “We are interested in the development of a pipeline to encourage family and consumer sciences students and teachers who have graduated and not decided on a career. We want to enlighten students at various levels about what family and consumer sciences is all about,” Johnson said.
The AAFCS Leadership Academy mentor said pursuing an FCS career is a gateway to various opportunities. “Many individuals who graduated from FVSU’s program are serving in state offices and in supervisory positions with various organizations,” Johnson said.
A member of AAFCS for more than 33 years, the Florida State University alumna is no stranger to the national organization. She became an officer at the state level, participated at the national level and served on a variety of committees. In addition to teaching for 37 years at FVSU, Johnson directs the Family and Consumer Sciences Club on campus.
“I’m always looking for new experiences,” Johnson said. “That’s why I applied for the Julius Benton Professional Improvement Award. I always try to put my best foot forward and let the chips fall where they may. I always tell my students, ‘Don’t count yourself out. If you are interested, see what happens.’ So, that’s what I did.”
To apply for the Julius Benton Professional Improvement Award, an individual must be a GAFCS member for at least two years and desire to engage in a professional improvement project exemplifying the GAFCS’ goals.
“I really enjoy what I do,” Johnson said. “I’m most proud of my teaching and my ability to encourage students. When they succeed, I’m a success, too.”
The Clarksdale, Mississippi, native, who began preparing food at her father’s fruit stand at age 12, said she wants the best for her students and encourages them to do their best. “That is how I try to live my life. To whom much is given, much is required,” Johnson said.
For more information about FCS programs, contact Johnson at (478) 825-6234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.