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Johnson remains committed to educational focus

Monday, November 19, 2012

Greta Johnson, Le Mars, former student member of the Iowa Board of Regents, said state schools are beneficial for all Iowa communities.
Greta Johnson, Le Mars, stepping down this past weekend as the student member of the Iowa Board of Regents, is now looking ahead to her newest field of endeavor.

Beginning next Monday, Johnson, the daughter of Carl and Joann Johnson, of Le Mars, takes on the position of special projects assistant for government relations for Iowa State University (ISU).

Johnson said she welcomes her most recent opportunity to assist in sharing with others the benefits coming from Iowa's state colleges and universities.

"I see the job as a great combination of education and politics and am definitely excited," she said. "I'm glad, too, to be returning to Iowa State."

She pointed out her fourth generation ties to the university.

"My grandparents, Norman and Ruth Barker met at Iowa State as did my great grandparents. My parents met there and pretty much all my aunts and uncles on my mom's side went to Iowa State," Johnson said.

She said the time she spent on the Iowa Board of Regents, meanwhile, has strengthened her commitment to Iowa's state colleges and universities.

Johnson said she appreciates the value of the public institutions in Iowa and wants to tell others about their importance.

"Even those of us in northwest Iowa may not realize this importance," Johnson said. "We are, however, benefiting from all three schools -- Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa. This is the result of the research that is available and the contributions made within our northwest Iowa communities by the alumni of the schools."

Johnson, was appointed to the Board of Regents by former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver in 2008.

She was invited to serve on the board by former ISU President Gregory Geoffroy while in her sophomore year at Iowa State.

"I felt honored by the appointment as I considered the accomplished people I'd be serving with on the board and their outstanding careers," Johnson said. "I feel very fortunate today that I've had the opportunity to learn from these people and to have had the chance to interact with them as fellow board members."

Johnson pointed out that having a voting student on the nine-member Iowa Board of Regents is "unique" because in many other states student members have a more intern-like role on a similar board.

A 2006 Le Mars Community High School graduate, Johnson received her bachelor's of science degree in political science from ISU in 2010.

In May of this year, she received her master's degree in leisure, youth and human services from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI).

Johnson said the degree provided her with "worldwide experiences," resulting from her participation in the UNI's Camp Adventure program.

The program provides youth services experiences to children of military families at American and British bases and embassies.

Her time in the program involved assignments in Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Germany and Okinawa, Japan.

Johnson was most recently as director of the absentee and early-voter effort for the Iowa Republican Victory Program.

As to her journey into the fields of education and political science, Johnson credits former Iowa State Rep. Ralph Klemme, R-Le Mars, with first igniting her interest in politics.

She visited the Legislature during Klemme's time in Des Moines while she was still a high school student and later served as a legislative page assisting lawmakers.

"I'd also seen how really great my grandparents had been with public servant and volunteer work here in Plymouth county," Johnson said.

She would, in addition to her earlier Iowa legislative experience, later have a Congressional internship in Washington in 2009.

She added that her work in the Iowa Legislature was a "natural progression."

"This has been further strengthened through the professional relationships established during my time on the board of regents," she said. "All the individual members, I feel, have had a positive influence on what I've been able to accomplish and affected me in a variety of ways."

Johnson offered words of advice and encouragement to others with interests similar to her own.

She said, "It's important to make the most of the experiences you've been given and to take advantage of these experiences. I've been fortunate in that for me one thing has led to another career-wise.

"People relationships can also be important. It's remembering to treat others as you want to be treated -- and to work hard."

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