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Carla C. Johnson

Professor of Science Education and Executive Director of the Artificial Intelligence Academy

Poe Hall 326D


Dr. Johnson is a Professor of Science Education, Executive Director of the Artificial Intelligence Academy, and Faculty Research Fellow at NCSU. She has been awarded and managed over 75 million in external funding for research and programming across her career – all focused on making STEM for all students a reality. Dr. Johnson has served as an expert advisor to the Office of Science and Technology Policy and has led research and evaluation projects for NASA and the Department of Defense. Dr. Johnson has led several large-scale STEM initiatives such as the STEM Road Map Curriculum Project and the Handbook of Research on STEM Education (2020) in which the second edition is in progress. Dr. Johnson currently serves as the elected Chair of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Special Interest Group (SIG) for Science Teaching and Learning. She is on the editorial board of the journal Trends in Higher Education and served as the Editor of the School Science and Mathematics research journal for a decade 2011-21.

Dr. Johnson’s recent research (2023) includes a systematic review of online teaching and learning in K-12 during the pandemic which was published in the top educational research journal published by AERA – Review of Educational Research.

A second recent study which Johnson led is of urban high schools in the Indiana GEAR UP program. Findings indicated participation supported students to be better prepared for post-secondary study (2023).

Dr. Johnson has worked with thousands of teachers across the U.S. through professional development and training programs. She has also worked with over 50 schools leading their STEM School strategic planning process. Dr. Johnson has received many national awards for her research. Across her career she has published over 50 peer reviewed research articles, 33 books, and 9 book chapters, as well as dozens of evaluation reports for associated federal and state-level STEM evaluation projects. She has developed an industry partner network for the AI Academy comprised of over 100 organizations which are engaged in growing access for historically excluded and underserved individuals to high school instruction, adult workforce development, and college/career paths in artificial intelligence/IT.

Before joining NC State, Dr. Johnson was Purdue’s College of Education’s associate dean for research, engagement and global affairs and the college’s lead for strategic partnerships. She also served as  Provost’s Fellow for P-16 STEM and Executive Director of the Indiana GEAR UP program. In these various roles, she has worked collaboratively with others to develop and implement a strategy for coordinating campus-wide P12 STEM initiatives and has provided leadership for developing and implementing all cross-campus and external partnership efforts within and outside of Indiana. Before joining Purdue, Johnson held research, academic and leadership positions with the University of Cincinnati, the University of Toledo, Utah State University, Northern Kentucky University and Vanderbilt University.

  • Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Extension and Engagement, 2023 NC State University
  • Alumni Association Extension and Outreach Award, 2023 NC State University
  • Outstanding Engagement Award 2023 NC State University, College of Education
  • George Mallinson Distinguished Service Award, 2021 School Science and Mathematics Association
  • Excellence in Research Award, 2017 Purdue University
  • Outstanding Faculty Engagement Fellow Award (Full Professor Level), 2017 Purdue University
  • Excellence in Research Award, 2016 Purdue University
  • Christian J. Foster Award for transformational contributions to K-12 education, 2015 Purdue University
  • Implications of Research for Educational Practice Award, 2014 Association for Science Teacher Education
  • Outstanding Science Teacher Educator Level I Award, 2013, Association for Science Teacher Education
  • Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student/Faculty Relationships, 2013 University of Cincinnati
  • Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student/Faculty Relationships, 2012 University of Cincinnati
  • Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student/Faculty Relationships, 2011 University of Cincinnati
  • Excellence in Integrating Science and Mathematics Award, 2012 School Science and Mathematics Association
  • Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award, 2006, School Science and Mathematics Association
  • Upward Bound Award of Distinction, 2002 Teaching Excellence Award, University of Cincinnati
  • Franklin B. Walter Award, 2001 Teaching Excellence Award, Ohio Department of Education