#LLABlog – Meet Dr. Shirley Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Shirley Jackson

Dr. Shirley Jackson is the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She holds a B.S. in Physics and a PhD in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). She is the first African American woman to receive a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

In addition to the doctorate, Jackson has received 55 honorary doctoral degrees, numerous awards, and leadership roles across academia, government, and scientific industries. These honours are a reflection of her revolutionary work and ability to bring together experts from all walks of life to create solutions that will benefit the world. She is why words like “extraordinary” were invented.

Jackson spent her early career at Bell Labs where she helped produce discoveries that led to the fax machine, touch-tone phones, solar cells, fibre optic cables, caller ID, and call waiting. In the 1990s, after spending four years teaching physics at Rutgers University in Maryland, Jackson moved on to other roles such as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. 

Upon leaving the agency in 1999, she took on her current role as President of RPI where they are researching the challenges of humanity in energy, water and food security, national and global security, human health, climate change and the allocation of scarce natural resources. 

While President of RPI, she was asked to participate on numerous advisory boards such as Co-Chair of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and the Advisory Council of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations while spearheading the formation of the International Nuclear Regulators Association.

According to Forbes, Dr. Shirley Jackson was described as “The Ultimate Role Model For Women In Science.”

We are so proud of Dr. Shirley Jackson innovative academic and scientific accomplishments.


This article was originally published on Forbes

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