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CHIPS Articles: South Carolina Governor Awards SSC Atlantic Employee

South Carolina Governor Awards SSC Atlantic Employee
By Susan Piedfort, SSC Atlantic Public Affairs - December 19, 2017
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach director, Shanda Johnson, received the prestigious South Carolina Order of the Silver Crescent Award, signed by Gov. Henry McMaster, Dec. 15.

This award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the life and well-being of South Carolina and its people.

Johnson built SSC Atlantic’s STEM outreach program from the ground up beginning in 2009. She has grown the program to include more than 300 volunteer SSC Atlantic employees who have reached out to more than 55,000 students in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as magnet and progressive schools in the Charleston, Berkeley, Colleton and Dorchester Two Districts.

Johnson also emphasizes cybersecurity in SSC Atlantic’s STEM outreach program, and helped to establish week-long, hands-on, interactive cyber camps at all three SSC Atlantic locations, educating more than 200 students annually. SSC Atlantic’s Charleston location also hosts the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition, an intense cyber network “attack and defend” competition. For the past five years, this two-day weekend event has impacted more than 200 high school and college students each year. Additional activities include forensic challenges, curriculum development, Information Technology (IT) Shadow Day, student/teacher shadow opportunities, career fairs, DimensionU, math and science nights, and speaking engagements.

As an outreach champion, Johnson has spearheaded programs which provide opportunities to minority, disadvantaged and underserved community students, such as Girls Day Out, hosted in Charleston for five years and recently expanded to Hampton Roads and New Orleans. This program has touched and influenced more than 500 rising eighth and ninth grade girls and their parents, encouraging, influencing and educating them on STEM careers.

Johnson collaborated with colleges, universities, local businesses and the mayor’s office to sponsor a “My Brother’s Keeper” weekend summer camp, and worked with community leaders and the mayor’s office to stand up a “My Brother’s Keeper Coalition” in Charleston. Johnson ensures SSC Atlantic takes advantage of the Navy’s Science Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP), Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program NREIP and Summer Faculty Research Program (SFRP), ensuring selectees are from diverse backgrounds and that students gain exposure and experience in STEM careers.

Johnson’s devotion to increasing technical opportunities for students is both a personal and professional endeavor. SSC Atlantic and the Navy have already gained a return of their investment by hiring new professionals who were previous participants in the STEM outreach program.

SSC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR), cyber and information technology (IT) capabilities. For more information visit

Shanda Johnson
Shanda Johnson
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