November 30, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Distinguished Alumni, GOLD Honorees Deliver Commencement Address at VSU: MEET RACHEL ROBERTSON JOHNSON

Rachel Robertson Johnson

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will celebrate its 230th Commencement with a series of four in-person ceremonies — three for undergraduate students and one for graduate students — on Monday, Dec. 14, at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

VSU will recognize graduates from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at 9 a.m.; Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration and College of the Arts at 12:30 p.m.; James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Science and Mathematics, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences at 4 p.m.; and Graduate School at 7:30 p.m. Graduates from Fall 2020, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020 have been invited to participate.

Instead of the traditional commencement keynote speaker, each ceremony will feature a compilation video message from VSU's 2020 Distinguished Alumni and Graduate of the Last Decade honorees — all of whom are excited to have the opportunity to offer words of encouragement and wisdom to the graduates and to have the privilege of inspiring a new class of creative, conscious, and caring Blazers ready to meet the needs of a changing global society.

RACHEL ROBERTSON JOHNSON, COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA OF THE YEAR, graduated from VSU with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2013.

VSU: What advice do you have for current and future graduates of VSU?

Rachel Robertson Johnson: Always believe in yourself. Never second-guess your purpose. Wherever your dreams may take you, follow the steps and trust the process. 

VSU: When you look back on your time as a student at VSU, what achievements are your biggest points of pride?

Rachel Robertson Johnson: As an undergraduate, I was a research student working with Dr. Tom Manning, professor in the Department of Chemistry. I participated in a few projects that lead to writing and presenting my findings via published articles and posters. I had an amazing opportunity to present at VSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as the American Chemical Society Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia. I believe the executive skills learned during that process really benefited my career overall. I learned how crucial it is to rely on other scientists and bring their skillset into the project to reach the common goal. I learned how to network and maintain connections. I encourage all students to take advantage of any undergraduate research program or project. At the time I did not realize how much of what I was learning and doing would translate into my career, but it was monumental and consistent. 

About Rachel Robertson Johnson (Professional Biography)

Rachel Robertson Johnson serves the cosmetic industry as a cosmetic chemist specializing in the analysis of raw material and technology in order to formulate innovative systems that positively impact the beauty industry.

Johnson formulates skincare and color cosmetics for more than 500 brands, providing cutting-edge solutions for clean, organic, and natural formulations.

Johnson’s work has greatly impacted the Indie Beauty community as well as improving the daily lives of black, indigenous, and/or people of color.

Johnson uses her placement to co-create beauty products that address common consumer issues for black, indigenous, and/or people of color, including hyperpigmentation and inclusive foundation shades. She currently offers custom formulation consulting to boutique and masstige beauty brands as The Charismatic Chemist.

Johnson is a fierce advocate of STEM careers, spearheading a program built to bring specific awareness to public school students about the cosmetic chemist profession. She currently resides in New York with her husband and son.
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