For thirteen years I have served
the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) as Professor of Electrical and Computer
Engineering, and for four of those years as the Director of the Colorado National
Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (NSF/ERC) for Optoelectronic
Computing Systems Center (OCS). Currently I am on leave from the University
of Colorado, working as Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer of ColorLink,
Inc., a company I co-founded in 1995 to commercialize technology invented and
developed in my laboratory at CU. A privately held company, ColorLink, Inc.
develops and manufactures optical components for colorizing high-resolution
displays (projection, head-mounted, and direct view) and digital cameras.
Originally from Colorado, I received my Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. in Electrical
Engineering from Stanford University in '79, '81 and '84, respectively. After
a two year NATO post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pure and Applied
Physics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, I returned to the United States
to take a post as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering at CU.
I chose electrical engineering because my father, Robert Grey Johnson, and my
grandfather, Charles Wood Johnson were electrical (electro-mechanical) engineers
who worked all their lives for Westinghouse Corporation. My grandfather was
an engineering assistant to George Westinghouse at the time of his premature
death from pneumonia in 1926. In addition to my father and my mother, Kathleen,
my family of two brothers and four sisters continues to be the biggest influence
in my life. Their constant support, encouragement, and affection are my greatest
joy. The second biggest influence has been the wonderful teachers who worked
with me throughout my career. What I like most about engineering and applied
science is making things work that haven't been tried before, or are considered
to be "not possible". The largest challenge I faced pursuing a career
in engineering was overcoming Hodgkin's disease in graduate school.
My short-term goal is to make ColorLink, Inc., a commercial success, thus completing
the cross-disciplinary vision of our NSF/ERC: integration of materials and devices
into systems, creating new industries and a workforce for the 21st century.
My long-term goal is to return to academia to be a "really great professor".
When I am not working on these goals, I enjoy riding horses, playing golf, skiing
and "watching the hay grow" on my little farm outside of Boulder.
The most satisfying academic achievement is graduating seventeen Ph.Ds, eighteen
Masters and thirteen undergraduate students. My most satisfying technical achievement
is spinning off five start-up companies from my CU research laboratory. My students
and postdoctoral fellows allowed me to be recognized as the first International
Recipient of the Dennis Gabor Prize in 1993 which I received for Innovation
and Creativity in Modern Optics by the Novofer Foundation.
To women thinking about a career in engineering: stay
focused and committed. Never stop believing in yourself.
"To make a beginning is to make an end, to make and end is to make a beginning,
the end is where we start from." T.S. Eliot.
Have fun and enjoy the human side of an engineering career.
and Computer Engineer