JHU provost Obama's pick for energy post

March 13, 2009|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,stephen.kiehl@baltsun.com

President Barack Obama announced yesterday his intention to nominate Kristina M. Johnson, provost of the Johns Hopkins University, to be undersecretary of energy.

Johnson, 51, has been provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Hopkins since 2007. Before that, she was dean of engineering at Duke University. An award-winning electrical engineer, she holds 129 U.S. and foreign patents or patents pending and is the co-founder of several startup companies.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would be responsible for leading administration initiatives in energy efficiency, solar and wind power, geothermal energy, clean-car technology and other forms of renewable energy.

Johnson, who was in Washington yesterday, could not be reached for comment. A Department of Energy spokeswoman said nominees typically do not grant interviews.

Johnson was a candidate last year to be president of Hopkins, but the university's board chose the provost of the University of Pennsylvania, Ronald J. Daniels, who started this month. In a statement yesterday, Daniels said, "Although we will miss Kristina's energy and imagination, it is a singular source of pride for Johns Hopkins that she has been called upon to serve the country at such a critical juncture."

As provost, Johnson launched an initiative to recruit more minorities to the university's faculty and helped form Hopkins' new schools of business and education.

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