It’s hard to imagine that John Christy Johnson finds a lot of time for things like sleeping and eating.
He’s a medical student at the University of Alberta. He’s also a research technician at the University of Alberta Rehabilitation Robotics Lab, where machines are employed to aid the disabled and those recovering from serious injuries.
But, he’s also working in a number of charitable endeavours, including Sharpen the Quill and the PLAY Program, which encourages children to engage in physical activity.
He says that, for him, it’s been a blessing in disguise that many of his classes have moved online, so he can review lectures at his own pace, clearing time to wear another of his many hats.
“It’s always a challenge,” says Johnson of his time-management skills. “I don’t boast that I have it figured out.”
He and his twin brother, 2021 Top 40 Under 40 member Peter Anto Johnson, worked to create Sharpen the Quill, offered through the Antarctic Institute of Canada.
Johnson began working with the AIC, which was founded by Canadian Antarctic researcher Dr. Austin Mardon, a few years ago. The charity supports the advancement of research and writing.
Sharpen the Quill, launched in 2020, received $2 million in grants to encourage students to publish their work. It could be poetry, fantasy fiction, academic research or journalism.
“The goal is to equip students with the tools they need to be more articulate,” says Johnson.
Johnson describes himself as a “hands-on” learner, so that’s why medicine and robotics appeal to him. But his passion for writing betrays a creative streak.
“I feel like I am more of a right-brained person, and that hasn’t always served me well when I am working on more technical projects. I have to sometimes curb my creative juices.”
This article appears in the Winter 2022 issue of Edify