AAAS's Jackson, Malcom Cited as Minority "Trailblazers" in Science
Shirley Ann Jackson
Photo credit: Mark McCarty
AAAS Chairwoman Shirley Ann Jackson and Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources, have been named to a select group of minority trailblazers in science by Science Spectrum magazine.
Jackson, former chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and now president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Malcom, a past winner of the National Academy of Sciences' Public Welfare Medal, were among a group of 67 scientists, engineers and others named to the list.
All have "made a significant, quantifiable, personal impact on the industry, while making contributions that have uplifted their communities and maintaining a powerful position of influence regarding public policy for minorities in science," the magazine said in announcing the honors.
Jackson, Malcom and the others "come from industry and government, nonprofit research institutions and academia," the magazine said, "but they have in common a desire to lead in the development of ideas that are changing they way we live our lives and see the world, today and into the future."
Jackson, a physicist, is often cited as one of them most influential figures in global science, and has been an outspoken advocate and role model for underrepresented groups.
She has brought national focus to what she calls the "quiet crisis,"
warning that the U.S. science and engineering workforce is at risk of
being depleted because of record numbers of retirements on the horizon
and not enough young people in the pipeline to replace them.
"I am honored to be in the company of Shirley Malcom and all who have
been selected as trailblazers, and I applaud Science Spectrum for their
efforts to showcase science and engineering leaders," Jackson said.
"Celebrating these stories may spark the curiosity and imagination of
young people and awaken their interest in the possibilities of a science
or engineering career. Talent, from every source and from all sources,
is imperative for the innovation which gives us the ability to resolve
the 21st century challenges which are unfolding."
She was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from M.I.T. in any subject. Her research specialties are in optical physics; theoretical, quantum, and solid-state physics. Her interests include science and technology policy, higher education and energy policy including nuclear energy and regulation. She became president of AAAS in February 2004, and, at the close of the 2005 annual meeting in February, she moved up to become chair of the AAAS Board of Directors.
From 1995 to 1999, under President Bill Clinton, Jackson was the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She also is the first African-American woman to lead a national research university, the first to lead AAAS, and the first to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and member of the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange.
The recipient of numerous awards, Jackson has been named one of the Top 50 Women in Science by Discover magazine and one of the 50 Most Inspiring Women in a book by Essence.
Malcom is widely seen as a global leader in efforts to improve science and engineering education and diversity in those fields, and under her guidance, Education and Human Resources at AAAS has become a resource for others who share those goals.
"I am honored to receive this recognition," Malcom said. "Like so many other African American women in science and engineering of my generation, we didn't set out to blaze any trails. We set out on journeys of discovery and found that we had taken what Robert Frost called "the road less traveled by." And for us all, that has clearly made all the difference."
At AAAS, her staff produces the award-winning Kinetic City science education program and the Healthy People Library Project, which distributes thousands of guides to good health through public libraries nationwide and on the web. Her staff also directs the Graduate Scholars Program, which has helped dozens of students from historically black colleges and universities to advance to doctoral degrees in science, engineering and mathematics.
Earlier this year, she was named to an elite panel convened by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III to develop reforms for America's troubled system of voting. In 2003, Malcom received the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the highest award given by the Academy. She holds more than a dozen honorary degrees.
Malcom also serves on several boardsincluding the Howard Heinz Endowment, the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Researchand is an honorary trustee of the American Museum of Natural History. She serves as a regent of Morgan State University and as a trustee of Caltech.
She served on the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation, from 1994 to 1998 and from 1994-2001 served on the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. She received her doctorate in ecology from Pennsylvania State University; master's degree in zoology from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a bachelor's degree with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington.
Science Spectrum and its parent, Career Communication Group Inc., last year named Malcom one of the top 50 black scientists in the U.S. This is the first year that the editors of the publication have developed the list of trailblazers.
Members of this year's class of the Science Spectrum Trailblazers will be recognized on Friday afternoon, 16 September, at the Top Minorities in Science luncheon in Baltimore. The luncheon is being held as part of the magazine's fourth annual Conference on Minorities in Research Sciences.
Career Communications Group, based in Baltimore, Md., is a minority-owned talent management and career development company.
It publishes several magazines: U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & IT, Science Spectrum, and Women of Color Conference Magazine. It also hosts three national conferences: the Black Engineer of the Year Awards, the National Women of Color Technology Awards and the Emerald Honors for Research Science. And it is the founder of two national public awareness campaigns to increase minorities' interest in technology: La Familia Technology Week and National Black Family Technology Awareness Week.
Edward W. Lempinen
28 July 2005