Skip to main content

Johnson appointed as Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador

Jeffrey Johnson
Jeffrey Johnson







The Fulbright Scholar Program has appointed Jeffrey Johnson to serve as a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador. Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences.

Ambassadors, according to the Fulbright press release, “represent the best of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and were selected through a competitive process.” Ambassadors serve two-year terms and present information on their Fulbright experience at multiple events on college campuses and academic conferences each year. Ambassadors not only represent the program externally, they serve as advisors about critical aspects of the program to the U.S. State Department and the program’s implementing agency, the Institute of International Education.

Johnson and a group of graduate students are currently conducting field work at Volcan de Fuego, an active volcano in Guatemala.

Volcan de Fuego, May, 2021. Photo provided by Jeffrey Johnson.













Since volcanology and geosciences are global disciplines, Johnson’s work requires travel to destinations where volcanoes are erupting. In the past 20 years he has studied more than 30 volcanoes in a dozen different countries, and on all continents. The volcanoes he studies most intensively are in Ecuador and Chile, in part because of opportunities afforded by the Fulbright Scholar program.

During Johnson’s six-month Fulbright-supported research in Ecuador in 2005, he worked with the Instituto Geofisico of the Escuela Politecnica Nacional to monitor new eruptions of Reventador, a volcano hidden in the Amazon basin. Together with his wife and his 1-year-old son, he lived in Quito and visited the volcano most weekends. The research built strong bonds between Johnson and Ecuadorian graduate students with whom he later worked in the U.S.

Johnson received a second Fulbright in 2015 in conjunction with a National Science Foundation project focused on the study of a simmering volcano, Villarrica, in Chile. This time Johnson’s family, including his now 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, were living at the base of the volcano when it erupted violently for the first time in 30 years. His children, who were students in a local school, had their classes canceled for more than a week. Despite the minor inconvenience, the eruption provided excellent data that resulted in publications and projects that continue until the present. Chilean collaborations are ongoing including exchange of students and professionals between Boise State and Chile. Seven Boise State students visited Villarrica in January 2020 to study the volcano.

“The Fulbright Scholar Program is an incredible opportunity to immerse oneself in a foreign environment and engage colleagues effectively,” Johnson said. “Fulbright opens doors that are difficult to open independently.”

Johnson said he applied for the ambassador program to promote the Fulbright mission that has served him so well.

“I am thankful for and support the mission of Fulbright to promote international relations through scholarly endeavors. I feel it is so important for Americans to travel overseas and demonstrate their good will and commitment to a global community and free exchange of knowledge,” he said.

Visit a webpage featuring Johnson‘s Fulbright experience:

The Fulbright Scholar Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, supports more than 800 U.S. faculty and professionals each year to teach or conduct research in over 135 countries around the world. The Fulbright award is a prestigious honor that brings distinction to the faculty member and their institution. A key priority for the State Department is to increase the diversity and quality of the scholars who participate in the program and the range of U.S. higher education institutions that are represented overall.