Office of the Provost; OUR Clemson

Shontavia Johnson selected for Liberty Fellowship’s new class


Shontavia Johnson, Clemson University’s Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is one of 20 South Carolina leaders to be selected for Liberty Fellowship’s Class of 2023. Following the successful completion of five, multi-day seminars in the U.S. and abroad and an individual leadership project, Johnson will join the community of more than 300 Liberty Fellows working collectively across South Carolina. 

“Each leader in our new class has demonstrated the courage and ability to confront the big, systemic issues affecting the people in South Carolina now and into the future,” said Ann Marie Stieritz, president and CEO of Liberty Fellowship and a Fellow from the Class of 2016. “By accepting our invitation to become a Liberty Fellow, Shontavia is challenging herself to dig even deeper and answer the question ‘How do I lead well and live justly in a good society?’” 

About Shontavia Johnson 

Johnson has positioned herself as one of the nation’s foremost experts in digital brand building, intellectual property law and inclusive entrepreneurship. Johnson acts as a connecter between students, corporate partners, businesses and other universities to help students create personal brands and launch successful businesses. 

With an engineering degree, a law degree, a license to practice patent law and certifications in arbitration and mediation, she is a virtual Swiss Army knife of experience and expertise. She has used that expertise to generate national discussions about a wide range of issues including the science of going viraldigital literacythe patent system and Black inventors, and many more. 

Johnson is a leader in the research of internet memes. In 2013, she published a paper on the subject that led to a story in Time magazine, appearances on CNN and being invited to give the closing talk at TEDxAtlanta. 

Johnson has twice been named one of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the United States by the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association, and she was named one of the Inspiring Women in STEM by INISIGHT into Diversity Magazine. Her long list of awards includes being a Fulbright Specialist Roster Candidate, the 42 Under 40 Alumni Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, to name a few. 

In 2018, she was named one of the 200 Black Women In Tech to Follow on Twitter by a distinguished panel of female African American influencers for creating content related to inclusion, the celebration of diversity in tech and the elevation of underrepresented groups. 

As host of The Shontavia Show, a web series and podcast, Johnson tackles the most common questions about starting, operating and growing a business and personal brand. She has also built the Brand+Business Academy, which teaches working professionals how to create their businesses in five weeks or less while working full time. 

Johnson and her husband, who is a lawyer in Clemson’s general counsel office, are both Clemson graduates. The two have traveled the country and the world extensively, living everywhere from New Orleans to Cape Town, South Africa. 

Liberty Fellowship Selection Process 

Liberty Fellowship’s rigorous selection process takes place every two years. Each new Fellow was nominated, interviewed twice, and ultimately selected from a pool of more than 400 nominations.  

“We are very intentional in selecting leaders with different perspectives, experiences and professional affiliations to facilitate challenging and meaningful values exploration and dialogue. We have found this to be the key to creating trust and lifelong bonds among leaders uniquely positioned to confront the status quo,” said Stieritz. 

In addition to joining the Liberty Fellowship community, Johnson will also become a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, a worldwide community of more than 3,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector in more than 50 countries. 

Learn more about the Liberty Fellowship Class of 2023

About Liberty Fellowship 

Liberty Fellowship is the only state-based Fellowship program of its kind in the United States. The Fellowship activates individual leaders through a deeper understanding of a just, free and equitable society; serves as a convener for bringing together diverse perspectives to advance civil discourse; and provides infrastructure for taking action. There are more than 300 Liberty Fellows working collectively across South Carolina. See stories of their impact at

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