Name: Dr. Natalie Johnson

Hometown: Wichita Falls, Texas

Degrees earned:

  1. Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  2. Master of Science in Sociology
  3. PhD in Sociology, concentration in criminology

What courses do you teach?

  1. CRJU 4350 Family Violence
  2. CRJU 4700 Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
  3. CRJU 3810 Victimology
  4. CRJU 3800 Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice
  5. CRJU 3200 Criminology
  6. CRJU 3450 White Collar Crime
  7. CRJU 4750 Advanced Criminological Theory
  8. CRJU 1100 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  9. CRJU 4200 Profiling the Serial Offender
  10. CRJU 3550 Comparative Criminology
  11. SOCI 1101 Introduction to Sociology

How long have you been at Dalton State? Five and a half years

Why did you choose Dalton State? Dalton State chose me! Though they chose me, I happily accepted the position. The criminal justice program was a newly established four-year program. I knew I would have great opportunities to help build the curriculum, be able to teach, and design my dream courses, as well as have the opportunity to teach in study abroad programs.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Roadrunner Nation? To me, it means being part of a close-knit family. Roadrunner Nation is my “home away from home.”

Did you always plan to teach at the college level? Why or why not? No, not at all. I never even thought I would be a teacher. It’s funny because we love to make plans about what we want to do, and all too often we “land” where we are supposed to be. I went to graduate school because I thought I wanted to be a researcher. I enjoy doing the “meat of research” such as interviews, but I do not enjoy the process from start to finish. I was given the opportunity to teach while in my doctorate program, and as any grad student knows, you’ll do just about anything for a paycheck! So, I gave it a shot. We had to take a class on teaching before we were allowed and of course one of our assignments was to give a lecture. I had already been working as a teaching assistant, and I gave my first ever lecture on Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgical Theory in a 4000 level Sociology Theory course, and I fell in love the second I started teaching. I knew immediately that was where I was supposed to be—in the college classroom! I was given my own classes a semester later and the rest they say is history. I was in love with teaching and that is my passion! Here I am, almost 10 years later, living the dream!

What do you like best about teaching at Dalton State? I love the small classes and that I can actually get to know my students one-on-one. I love how they develop cohorts, and I get to watch them grow intellectually from start to finish. It is a beautiful transformation to witness and to know that I was at least a small part of that transformation. 

What are some of your biggest achievements or accomplishments while at Dalton State? Developing courses to teach for our study abroad programs (for China, Taiwan/Hong Kong, and Madrid) and recruiting students to study abroad. There is no other experience that compares to watching students experience and learn about a completely different culture for 4-5 weeks! Also, getting criminal justice majors to join Lambda Alpha Epsilon (LAE), which is our Criminal Justice organization (RSO), and getting them involved in the community, opening them up to internship opportunities, and most importantly taking them to regional and national conferences. 

If you could add any class to the curriculum at Dalton State what would it be? Human Trafficking. I actually get to teach it for the first time this summer.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Bette Davis Eyes (my students call my look “the death stare”)

Favorite line from a movie? “Sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks…”  -Forrest Gump

What do you feel most proud of? Earning my doctorate at age 28

What is a skill you’d like to learn and why? I have always admired anyone with any musical talent and inclination. I would love to learn to play several instruments such as the harp, piano, and drums. 

What cheers you up? Shopping (for clothes, shoes, make up, jewelry, cat-mom stuff, decorations for my house, anything really—even groceries!) and 80s music!

What is your favorite book? “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss

Who would play you in the movie version of your life? Bette Davis (if she were still alive) or Lady Gaga because I’m told I look like her…I’m older, so technically she looks like me! 

What is your favorite childhood memory? My mom always read to me every night. I will always cherish those memories. We also had a tradition of going to the public library when I was a kid. To this day, I love the smell of a library and the smell of library books because they remind me of spending time with my mom.

Where is your favorite place to eat? Sevi’s Burritos in my hometown. If you ever ate there, you’d understand. Authentic, homemade tortillas and authentic Mexican food. The burritos are huge, and yes, I can eat a whole burrito in one sitting because they are absolutely delicious! 

What did you want to be when you were a kid? A meteorologist or paleontologist. I have always been fascinated by natural disasters (especially volcanos) and dinosaurs. I almost changed my major to geology my junior year in college. 

As a Roadrunner, how do you Run Boldly? By “throwing one starfish back into the ocean” at a time.  (See the Starfish Story by Loren Eiseley)