Black History Month: Dr. Marian Croak (1955- ) and Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson (1946- )

Friday, February 26, 2021

This week for Black History Month, we celebrate two dynamic women who have married vision and intellect to achieve notable advances in science and technology.

Dr. Marian Croak (1955- )

Marian Croak, Ph.D. has served as Vice President of Engineering at Google since 2014. Prior to that she served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development at AT&T Labs, where she worked for over 30 years. Dr. Croak is credited with developing Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that allows for high quality voice calls over the internet. Dr. Marian holds over 200 patents with more than 100 relating to VoIP. While at AT&T, Dr. Croak also helped to develop the text voting system first used on American Idol in 2003. Two years later, she built on the concept by developing a method for disaster relief charities to securely accept donations by text, most notably enabling disaster relief organizations to raise over $40 million by text after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Also in 2010, she was granted a patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,715,368) for her text-to-donate technology. Dr. Croak was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame in 2013.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson (1946 )

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D is a theoretical physicist and the 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a tech research university. Throughout her career she has been a trailblazer in academia, government industry, and research. Dr. Jackson is the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the first woman and African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university, and the second African American in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics. She has frequently used her expertise to serve the U.S. federal government. In 1995, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the first woman and African American to lead the agency. From 2009-2014, Dr. Jackson served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to help shape US policy in the areas of science, technology and innovation. And, in 2014 she served as Co-Chair of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board. In 2016, United States President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Jackson the National Medal of Science “for her insightful work in condensed matter and particle physics, for her science-rooted public policy achievements, and for her inspiration to the next generation of professionals” in STEM fields.