Alumni Profile: Dr. Heather Johnson '94
Dr. Heather Johnson ’94 can best be described as well-traveled, well-read, and well-rounded. A Navy brat, she traveled from Missouri to South Carolina to Italy to Virginia and back to Springfield, Missouri to attend Drury University. She spent her undergraduate career in and out of classrooms and labs, majoring in philosophy and earning a minor in both physics and French.
After earning her doctorate in philosophy at Michigan State University, she moved to New York City with high school sweetheart husband, Serge. Now an Internet and information systems consultant, Johnson splits her time between teaching philosophy at universities such as Stevens Technical Institute in Hoboken, New Jersey, Rutgers University and working with company clients such as the Robin Hood Foundation.
Johnson’s wide variety of interests began as a student at Drury University. The Global Studies program gave her the opportunity to experiment with classes in different disciplines before she decided that she wanted to do it all. Scanning through some philosophy books during her senior year of high school, Johnson thought she would take just one class for fun during her freshman year of college. Her professors hooked her on philosophy.
Drs. Richard Killough and Charles Ess took interest in Johnson’s academic career and gave her confidence in her ability to pursue a variety of academic concentrations throughout her time at Drury. Johnson now could see all the opportunities in her future that she did not see prior to attending Drury because of her professors’ personal attention. When she began to take physics classes, Johnson realized that she could connect her lessons in philosophy with her minor in physics, gaining an appreciation for the connections between the disciplines. By the end of her time at Drury, she rounded off her whole college experience with a minor in French, a language spoken by many in Serge’s family.
When Johnson moved to New York City, she was not sure what she wanted to pursue. A longtime aficionado of computers, she felt drawn to the field of technology. Dr. Charles Ess had given Johnson her first computer to tinker with during her Drury years, a hobby that she had loved during the early 1990s – a time in which fewer people owned home computers. Her fascination with computers and technology followed her to New York, and she found a part-time job working in the web department of the New York Post. After several years, she chose to leave her job and become self-employed. Johnson now owns and operates Sephie Technologies, a small Internet consulting business that has helped companies such as the New York Post, The Robin Hood Foundation, Marymount College and the New York Road Runners with their web programming and systems design.
Johnson’s primary client is the Robin Hood Foundation, an organization that raises funds that are distributed to approximately 230 of the best non-profit organizations throughout New York City. The difference of the Robin Hood Foundation from other charitable organizations is that 100% of its operational costs are covered by its board members, so that every dollar given to this organization goes directly to ending poverty in New York City. Board members of the Robin Hood Foundation include Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, Gwyneth Paltrow, and other business leaders of New York City. Johnson has worked to ensure that their website has the infrastructure needed to handle a large volume of Internet traffic when Internet users choose to view the Robin Hood Foundation’s online presence.
Dr. Heather Johnson is a woman of many interests, interests that she cultivated at Drury. Now a successful technology professional, she credits Drury with laying the groundwork for much of her success. She recognizes Drury and its professors for their dedication and investment of time in each student, giving young professionals the tools they need to succeed.
Written by Megan Waterman '13