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Catherine Johnson, 2007-08 Fellowship Recipient

Catherine Johnson

Catherine Johnson is the recipient of the 2007-08 Ruth and Paul Thomas Family Education Graduate Fellowship. The award has made it possible for her to be a full time FYC doctoral student and immerse herself in what the University has to offer. Catherine appreciates the generosity of the Thomas family, saying, "I hope that I can merit the confidence shown in me by contributing with in the field of Family, Youth and Community." Dr. Ruth Thomas, who is also Catherine’s adviser, “has been an excellent guide in the process of getting started at the University and in the field of Family Education," according to Catherine.

Catherine has worked as a physical therapist in Fairmont, MN, at Mayo Health Systems during the last 17 years. Her experience includes work in outpatient clinics, long-term care, home health, and school districts. All of these situations included the need for teaching clients, which led to Catherine’s interest in what makes an effective therapist-educator. Catherine completed a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy program that included projects related to patient education, particularly low literacy patient education. Her experiences in home visiting through the school districts and home health agencies continued to demonstrate the need for educational methods and materials that were relevant and accessible to families with low educations or low literacy.

Dr. Jerry McClelland (now retired) first encouraged Catherin to further her interest in educating families with low levels of education, socio-economic status and limited technology while working on her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction in Family, Youth, and Community. Johnson is finishing her second semester of classes in May 2008 and says she has "found all of the professors to be excellent teachers, guides and leaders."