President Shirley Jackson, PhD
Dr. Shirley Jackson has a staggering list of firsts. In 1973, she became the first black female to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This accomplishment also made her one of the first two black women to receive a doctorate in physics. Dr. Jackson was also the first black commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and in 1995, she became the first black person and the first woman to serve as chairman of the commission. She is also the first black woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Adding to her impressive accomplishments, in 1999, Dr. Jackson became President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, making her the first black female at the helm of a major technological institute.