News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Shirley Jackson Joins Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as Senior Fellow

Dec. 01, 2021

Dr. Shirley Jackson headshot.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has named the Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson a non-resident Senior Fellow. Dr. Jackson, a theoretical physicist and President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. At the Belfer Center, Jackson will engage with students, faculty, and fellows at the nexus of science, public policy, and leadership.

“Shirley exemplifies the ideal of advancing science and technology for the public good,” said Belfer Center Director Ash Carter. “All of us at the Center are honored to welcome such a distinguished leader and scientist. The National Science Board was right to call her a ‘national treasure’ and we look forward to her engagement with our community.”

“I am deeply honored to be named as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center,” said Jackson, President of the nation’s oldest and one of the most renowned technological research universities. “I look forward to participating in the Center’s stimulating programs about the important and pressing national and global issues facing us all today.”

In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Jackson as Co-Chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, where she served until January of 2017. From 2009 to 2014, Jackson served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and, as part of PCAST, was Co-Chair of the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). She also served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board from 2011 to 2017, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board from 2013 to 2017.

Before taking the helm at RPI in 1999, Jackson was Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), from 1995 to 1999. Jackson is a Life Member of the MIT Corporation, and a former Vice-Chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2017, she was named Regent Emerita of the Smithsonian Institution. She currently serves on the boards of several corporations, including FedEx, Kyndryl, and PSEG. Jackson also serves on the Global Board of Directors for The Nature Conservancy.

Jackson is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including 55 honorary doctoral degrees. In 2016, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and engineering. Most recently, she was named the 2021 recipient of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Oersted Medal, the 2021 recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, and the 2019 recipient of the American Physical Society (APS) Joseph A. Burton Forum Award. In 2018, Jackson was awarded the W.E.B. DuBois Medal from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Jackson holds an S.B. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT.


Contact: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: | 617-495-9858.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Shirley Jackson Joins Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as Senior Fellow.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, December 1, 2021.