LSU Alum Spotlight: Relius Johnson, PhD

24 August 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA - Relius Johnson, PhD, is from Marshall, Texas. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in General Studies from Texas A&M University in 2016. He went on to get his Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from the University of Central Arkansas in 2018. He then earned his Master of Arts in Applied Research, Measurement & Evaluation with a Graduate Certificate in Urban Education from Louisiana State University in 2020 and went on to get his PhD in Educational Leadership & Research with a graduate minor in African/African American Studies in 2022. Johnson began work at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020 as the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs and has worked his way up to being the Director of New Maverick Orientation at UTA. Johnson is the youngest director and the first Black director in this position. Relius Johnson, PhD
Why was LSU special to you? Are there any memories, classes, faculty, or classmates that stick out to you?
I had a lot of fantastic moments at LSU. My favorite memory will always be walking across the stage for my PhD this past May. Some of my other favorite memories include my #WeAllWeGot crew and going to football games, gymnastic meets, celebrating each other, and just the relationships we build. Two of my favorite classes are History of Higher Ed taught by Dr. Nikki Godfrey and any of my stats courses taught by Dr. Eugene Kennedy. I was blessed to have the opportunity to meet some fantastic people who include Future Dr. Chelsea Griffin and Dr. Franklin Soares, Dr. George Cage, Future Dr. Evante Topp, Dr. Monique Cain, Dr. Nikki Godfrey, Dr. Roland Mitchell, Dr. Keena Arbuthnot, and Dr. Eugene Kennedy. Dr. Raeshan Davis and Xavi Greaux became my older brother and sister while I was at LSU, and our relationship continues to blossom.
What are some lessons you’ve learned throughout your years in the field?
Take the opportunities that others say no to. The things I have done outside of my job have assisted with my career trajectory and given me experiences I needed to set me apart. Make sure that you are prioritizing yourself. People will work you and you have to make sure that you are doing things that refuel your bucket. Find people who will pour into you, but you can also pour into. If you want to go far, you must go with others. Having people who will hold you accountable, listen to you, pray with and for you while also supporting and encouraging you is much needed.
You just got promoted to Director of New Maverick Orientation at UTA. You’re the youngest director at 27 and the first Black director in the position. How does it feel?
I am still in shock and still, at times, feel that I will get an email that tells me I did not get the job. I have often had imposter syndrome, but I remind myself that LSU prepared me for this, and I was selected to lead this department. Being responsible for ensuring that 10,000 students are welcome and know that they matter and belong while also ensuring they get the resources they need to succeed is not an easy task, but it is rewarding. I am just proud that I have had people who prepared me for this position, and hopefully, I am making those who helped me get here and my ancestors proud.