Norfolk State University Alumna, Dr. Melencia Johnson

On episode 13 of “The HBCU Podcast,” we have Dr. Melencia Johnson. She’s a graduate of Norfolk State University. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina- Aiken. She’s also a world traveler.

During this episode, we talk about her HBCU experience, her career, and love for travel.

Melencia was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Michael and Shirley Johnson. She was raised in Concord, Virginia, by parents who worked tirelessly to make sure she and her brother Jerome did not have to want for anything. Her parents pushed her to read and study so that she could be the first in her immediate family to graduate from college and the first in her entire family to graduate with advanced degrees.

Her upbringing in no way influenced her choice to become a professor interested in crime. Ideas about her career path burgeoned from watching TV shows like X-Files, Profiler, and Millennium. She chose to major in sociology and criminal justice because she wanted to work with the FBI. Once she started taking classes a great professor and advisor took her under her wing. She advised her to participate in the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, for two summers. This program helped her to develop and attain her academic and career goals. After her first week in the program, she knew she wanted to become a professor in the subject she most enjoyed, criminology.

In addition to teaching introductory sociology courses at USC Aiken, she teaches courses for the Criminology/Criminal Justice concentration (Sociology of Youth and Delinquent Behavior; Criminological Theory; Sociology of Deviance; Race, Class, Gender, and Crime, and Girls’ Delinquency). When she’s not teaching, she enjoys being outside (when the mosquitoes aren’t biting) playing tennis. She tends to unwind by reading science fiction, horror, or non-fiction novels and cooking. She calls herself a flexitarian, meaning she’s mostly vegetarian but eats meat and seafood a few times a year. She also loves to travel. She started late in life. It all started with a study abroad assignment in Kenya in 2009. She hasn’t stopped traveling to at least one new country a year since that extremely rewarding trip.

Find out more about our guest and her travel, check her out on Instagram at @DrMelMel 

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