Saundra Johnson Austin

Ms. Johnson Austin is currently the President and CEO of Charis (pronounced Kare’us) Consulting Group LLC. She founded the organization in 2007 in response to the various needs of academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses. The organization specializes in building intellectual and human capacity for education and community transformation. Clients include the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU), the University of Texas El Paso, University of California Merced, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering.

From 2010-2015 Ms. Johnson Austin served as the senior vice president for operations at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). Saundra served as the first president and CEO of St. Michael’s High School, a 150-year-old private Catholic institution in Santa Fe, NM from 2008-2010. From 2005-2008 Saundra was executive vice president of the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning (CPLL) in Benton Harbor, MI. From 2000-2005 she was the executive director of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM) at the University of Notre Dame. From 1994-2000 she served as the Minority Engineering Program director at The Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Saundra Johnson Austin began her professional career in 1987 at Bechtel Power Corporation in Gaithersburg as a cost engineer.

In April 2016 she was recognized by Penn State as Outstanding Engineering Alumnus for Civil and Environmental Engineering and she currently serves on the College of Engineering’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council. She was recognized in 1998 with the National Society of Black Engineers’ Inaugural Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year and Outstanding Contribution by a Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award by the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA). In 2007 Ms. Johnson Austin received the Community Educational Leadership Award at the 2nd Annual Celebrate Literacy Conference.

Ms. Johnson Austin is currently enrolled in the Organizational Change and Leadership doctoral program at the University of Sothern California. She earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

She continues her national presence as Vice President of the Coalition for the Coalition of Hispanic, African and Native Americans for the Next Generation of Engineers and Scientists (CHANGES). She is a member of the U.S. White House endorsed initiative, Algebra by 7th Grade. Locally she is active in the community as she serves on the board of directors for the Friends of the White Plains Youth Bureau and the Northeast STEM Starter Academy at Mount Vernon in New York.

Ms. Johnson Austin mentors young girls, college students, and early professionals on the opportunities in STEM education and careers. In June 2015 she was the keynote speaker for the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering eighth grade graduation. In May 2016 she was the keynote speaker for the White Plains Youth Bureau Girls STEM Academy stepping up ceremony.

Saundra lives in White Plains, NY, with her husband, Rev. Clyde L. Austin, Jr. They have two adult children, Joshua and Charity and five grandchildren.

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