Cara Johnson

Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service

Cara Johnson is the Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service at the Gephardt Institute. With a focus on supporting students and alumni to navigate pathways to and through civic and community engagement, Cara is the staff advisor for the pre-orientation program Leadership through Service (LTS), coordinates the Community Service Fair and student outreach efforts, supports alumni civic engagement programs, oversees voter engagement and registration, offers customized workshops on behalf of the Gephardt Institute, and provides coaching and capacity building for student groups focused on community service. Additionally, Cara supervises the Student Engagement and Service Manager who oversees a portfolio of K-12 and Youth Initiatives and coordinates the institute’s student internship program.

Cara has been with the university since 2016, when she returned to her hometown St. Louis after nearly a decade working in public schools and education focused nonprofits in Oakland, CA. Previous to the Gephardt Institute, Cara worked as a Managing Director for Oakland Kids First, a Community Programs Director for Alternatives in Action, and a high school English teacher. Cara received her undergraduate degree in English from Washington University, a teaching credential in secondary education from San Francisco State University, and a master’s degree in Education Policy Organization and Leadership Studies from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.

Cara is passionate about local politics and engagement in the democratic process. She is well versed in policy and practice related to K-12 education and positive youth development, and is skilled at curriculum development and facilitation.

Contact Cara about:

  • Questions related to community service focused student groups
  • Information related to the student internship program
  • Voter registration and engagement or WashU Votes
  • Coordinating events related to civic and community engagement
  • Alumni civic engagement initiatives including WashU Engage days of service, Alumni and Parent Book Discussions, and the St. Louis based Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program
  • To schedule a workshop or presentation
  • General inquiries or consulting through drop-in hours on Tuesdays, 3-5pm