26th Annual MLK Celebration Keynote
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is an MIT alumna and the first African-American woman to head a ranking technological university in the United States.
Dr. Jackson, who became president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in July, was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in physics in the United States. Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995-99, she received the SB (1968) and PhD (1973) in physics from MIT. She was the first African-American woman to head the NRC and the first African-American woman to earn an MIT doctorate.
While an undergraduate at MIT, she was a founder of the Black Students Association and helped increase the number of African-Americans entering the Institute from two to 57 in a single year.
Prior to joining the NRC, Professor Jackson was a university professor, research scientist, consultant and corporate director. From 1991-95, she was professor of physics at Rutgers University, serving concurrently as consultant in semiconductor theory to AT&T Bell Laboratories. From 1976-91, she conducted research in theoretical physics, solid-state and quantum physics and optical physics at Bell Laboratories.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She was elected as the first chair of the International Nuclear Regulators Association, formed in 1997.