Marist College

Spencer Johnson

Marist College
Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson is a senior from Bristol, Connecticut and has been involved in cross-country since his middle school days. It was then that he realized his passion and integrity were going to take him places in life.

Spencer Johnson is a senior from Bristol, Connecticut and has been involved in cross-country since his middle school days. It was then that he realized his passion and integrity were going to take him places in life.

One of his biggest insecurities growing up was his height. “I was always known as the short kid and always stood in the front row for class pictures,” Spencer said. “Even today, I am one of the smallest kids on our cross-country team, and I used to think of my physical stature as a hindrance to my performance.” That is, until, he watched a Nike commercial during the 2012 Olympic Games “emphasizing how all athletes come in different shapes and sizes.”

Spencer credits this commercial with changing his perspective on his body. “My height wasn’t the deciding factor on how well I could perform; my work ethic was,” he said.

“My senior year in high school was my strongest year as a runner, and that was because I pushed myself to become the best runner I could be. I began to understand my body better, and here at Marist I’ve found ways to maximize my performance while minimizing injury and fatigue.”

It is because of Spencer’s determination and perseverance that he was awarded the Gregory J. Salamone Scholarship, something that he described as an honor and truly humbling. According to Marist Athletics, the scholarship is awarded to a male track/cross country athlete that excels in both academics and running.

“Greg meant a lot to our team, and especially our coach, Pete,” Spencer said. “Being awarded this scholarship in his name means a lot to me. I hope to follow in his footsteps as his legacy will never be forgotten by our team.” Despite his cross-country successes, the sport is not Spencer’s only passion. At Marist, he majors in secondary education and history with a minor in political science.

“I have always had a deep interest in history and how governments work and the importance of history as a practice,” Spencer said. For as long as he can remember he has wanted to be a teacher. “I love school and learning, and, I hope to educate my future students on how to become lifelong learners,”

“Even today, I am one of the smallest kids on our cross-country team, and I used to think of my physical stature as a hindrance to my performance.”

His interest in history began in elementary school, when he began learning about America’s past. “From then on, I wanted to know everything about the world, and how people and ideas have developed over time,” Spencer said. During the spring of his junior year at Marist, Spencer interned at the FDR Presidential Museum and Library working with the educational specialist. A few months later during the summer, Spencer interned in Washington, D.C. at the United States Senate. He worked in the Office of Printing and Document Services, completing tasks involving  legislative clerking.

“These two experiences taught me the complexities of conducting historical research as well as the functioning of our government,” Spencer said. “I hope to use these experiences in my classroom to give my future students an insight on the field of history and the practices of governmental organizations.”

Spencer attributes much of his success to the model set by his parents. “They showed me and my brothers what hard work can achieve and instilled a hard work ethic in all of us in order to be successful,” he said. “I am grateful for their constant guidance and support and I hope to be like them when I am older.”