Shirley Ann Jackson is the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. A theoretical physicist, she has been described by Time magazine as "perhaps the ultimate role
model for women in science." She was the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, and has served as a professor of theoretical physics at Rutgers University and as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2007 the National Science Board awarded her the Vannevar
Bush Award for "a lifetime of achievements in scientific research,
education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy." Jackson also serves on the boards of a number of companies and organizations, including the New York Stock Exchange, IBM, FedEx, Marathon Oil, and the Smithsonian Institution.