Making a difference, one day at a time

For several years, Santana Johnson ’20 could be seen just about everywhere on the Alverno campus. That’s because the recent graduate constantly pursued a mission to be an advocate for those without a voice and to prove that no matter who you are, you can be successful.

Johnson, a 23-year-old Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology major who graduated in December 2020, was born in Milwaukee and graduated from The Milwaukee Academy of Science. She chose to pursue her college education at Alverno for a powerful reason.

“I wanted a place where I felt important, where I would have a voice and where I know that people would advocate for me when I couldn’t for myself,” she recalls. “Also of all the places I toured, I never had the same feeling as I had at Alverno.”

During her time at Alverno, Johnson has adopted many roles in order to live her mission of bettering Alverno and helping her fellow students. “I have worked so many places on campus: I have been an ambassador for Admissions, a Peer Leader, a Community Advisor for residence life, a desk worker for residence life, I have worked for both sections of the Girls Academy (math and science and reading), and I have been Senior Student Assistant for Alverno Student Affairs, working along with Counseling and Health services, campus ministry, athletics, the IIC, student activities, and a campus tutor.”

Johnson says that one of her priorities is making a difference in the world. “The main thing that motivates me is that the effort that I am putting forth will make the world a better place for those without a voice,” she explains. “I also find it very motivational that many people who don’t look like me think that they don’t have the opportunity to go to college. I am proof that you can and that you are able to be successful at it.”

The Alverno campus has noticed and appreciated her work. She was nominated for the Emerging Student Leader award in 2016, was selected to be a Loacker tutor and Doherty Scholar, and served as the treasurer of the student organization the F-Word.

While she has recently graduated from Alverno, Johnson doesn’t plan to stop working to strengthen her community. She will take a well-deserved break from her studies but continue her work as a youth and family advocate at a youth shelter. Then, she hopes to go on to earn her master’s degree and possibly a doctorate.

Still, Johnson’s heart lies with Alverno. Her long-term goal is to return to lead the College’s Women’s and Gender Studies program. The relationships she has created as a student have influenced her life greatly. Because of this, she wishes to see the continued greatness that Alverno will achieve and hopes that other alumni will become more involved just as she hopes to be in the future.


This article was written by Alverno Magazine fall 2020 intern Ebony Levy ’20, an English major and December 2020 graduate of Alverno College.

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