Thalia F. Johnson

Class Year: 2004

County: Washtenaw

Title: 4-H youth agent emerita, Michigan State University Extension

“My first experience as a 4-H member with international programs was a factor in wanting to live and work in another country. That led to Peace Corps.…Working with youth in Malaysia changed my career plans.”
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After her international experiences in 4-H, Thalia Johnson started her career as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia. Upon returning to the United States, she held the roles of 4-H youth agent and 4-H program assistant for various counties until she retired in 1996. She was a certified 4-H Challenge leader and instructor for the Upper Peninsula region and assisted with the Extension International Training Program. She has been honored for her Extension service with the Michigan and National Distinguished Service awards and the MSU Extension Diversity Award. In 1997, Johnson co-founded Cambios, Inc., a non-profit organization serving Lenawee County to provide educational resources addressing racism. The organization has given 50 multicultural children’s books to the elementary and public libraries in the county and trained middle school, high school and college students as readers to discuss the books and racism with elementary youth. Johnson was ordained to the Episcopal diocese of Michigan in 1987 and has served as a deacon for St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church of Cambridge Junction since 1991. She is also a member of the Lenawee County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), receiving the NAACP community award in 2000. She has served as a board member of the Great Lakes Recreation Leaders Lab and Literacy Lady of Ingham County. Johnson was a Co-Founder and Board Member of PFLAG Lenawee County from 2006-2010. She is curretnly a board member of the Oasis Ministry in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was a facilitator of the Whitaker School of Theology and is currently employed as a Receptionist and Legal Assisstant at Bassett and Associates in Ann Arbor, Michigan.