This fall, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is pleased to welcome former Catt Center graduate assistant Carrie Ann Johnson as the center’s interim coordinator of research and outreach.
Johnson is filling in for Kelly Winfrey, who has served as the coordinator of research and outreach since 2014 and is serving as the interim director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program for the 2022-2023 academic year.
“We are excited that Kelly has this new opportunity to learn and grow. We’re also so fortunate that Carrie Ann is available. She is supremely qualified to take on Kelly’s responsibilities,” said Karen Kedrowski, Catt Center director.
As a graduate assistant at the Catt Center from 2019-2022, Johnson helped coordinate the center’s undergraduate research initiative in which students researched women’s experiences running for and serving in office in Iowa, using a survey and interviews.
“I mentored some of the most amazing undergraduate students,” Johnson said of that experience. “Their fire, passion and intelligence inspired me to keep going, even on days when the research was difficult and heavy.”
In her new role at the center, Johnson is coordinating the Ready to Run® Iowa campaign training workshops, helping the center’s undergraduate voting champions with their campaigns to increase student voter turnout in the Nov. 8 midterm election, and supervising undergraduate student interns working on the Women in Iowa Politics Database and the Gender Balance Project.
In her professional career, Johnson has worked with organizations in both the public and private sectors. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Utah State University, Johnson worked in public relations and content editing, as well as consulting for small businesses and local politicians in her community. She also served in leadership positions for non-profits, school and community coalitions, including the Box Elder School Board and the Executive Board at Bridgerland Technical College.
Johnson returned to Utah State to earn a master’s degree in American studies, and then this summer received her Ph.D. in rhetoric and professional communication from Iowa State University, earning the Iowa State Research Excellence Award for her dissertation, “Whisper Networks: Sexual Harassment Protection Through Informal Networks.”
In her research—which focuses on intersectionality, social justice and how communication defines classrooms, institutions and organizations—Johnson examines how people build belonging and trust in organizations through informal networks and analyzes systems that are harmful to historically excluded populations. She has presented nationally on topics such as representation of LGBTQ+ experience in videogame rhetoric, the political experiences of women who run for office and social justice in the business communication classroom.
As a graduate assistant for the Department of English, Johnson taught courses in business communication, technical communication and research methods, as well as introductory courses in persuasive communication and written, oral, visual and electronic composition. She was also a guest lecturer in the undergraduate course Communication Studies 314: Organizational Communication, where she discussed sexual harassment policies in organizations, and for a doctoral seminar at the University of Vienna about the academic publication process.
Johnson also served on the Iowa State Graduate & Professional Student Senate, including being elected to the executive board two times. In the senate, she served on the Faculty Senate Committee, the Graduate Committee, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Committee, and chaired the University Relations and Legislative Affairs Committee.
“Everyone at the Catt Center has been welcoming, warm and passionate,” said Johnson. “It is an honor to work with a team that is dedicated to making the world a better place, and who make the office an uplifting and fun place to be. I am thrilled to be working more closely with everyone this year.”