VCU alum nominated to federal chemical safety agency board

Aerial view of MCV campus
Sylvia E. Johnson, Ph.D.
Sylvia E. Johnson, Ph.D.

President Joe Biden has nominated Sylvia E. Johnson, Ph.D. (M.S.’91) as one of three members of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

The CSB, based in Washington, D.C., is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. Agency board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Johnson earned an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991 in biomedical engineering with a concentration in industrial hygiene, then part of the VCU School of Medicine. (The VCU College of Engineering, founded in 1996, is now the home of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.)

She works for the National Education Association in the Government Relations department, where she leads legislative work on the safe reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, she was the assistant legislative director of legislative affairs and an occupational epidemiologist for the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW).

Katherine Lemos, Ph.D., the chair and CEO of the CSB, said she welcomed the start of the nomination process. “This additional support from such technically strong and professionally proficient candidates will strengthen our advocacy and outreach efforts to make chemical facilities safer for workers, communities and the environment,” she said in a statement.