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First African American Woman …

Another “First African American woman” might be used to describe Shirley Ann Jackson if she is selected to preside Harvard University. Her name is being suggested by academic leaders along with that of other women and scientists as possible candidates.

Jackson was the first African American woman to:

A past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an insatiable intellectual, she has lectured on topics as diverse as Ethiopian art and opto-electronic materials, and has established a biotechnology center at Rensselaer, dedicated to combating what she calls a ”quiet crisis” of too few American engineers and scientists.

”African-American. Woman. Physicist. Proven university administrator,” Trachtenberg said. ”She has the charm of being both right for the moment at Harvard, a radical departure and answer to the critics of the last five years, and simultaneously capable of doing the job. What a wonderful thing when two things like that come together in one person at the right time.” Boston Globe

As an RPI alumna, I am impressed by the way Dr. Jackson has transformed the school; it would be a shame to see her leave. On the other hand, it would be amazing to see a woman like her presiding over the most prestigious university in the nation.

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