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Rensselaer President Discusses the Importance of Communication

Advisor to President Obama Says Science and Technology Work across Language and Culture

Shirley Ann Jackson, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, recently discussed the importance of communication in today's interconnected global world where people of different cultures must work together. Jackson, a theoretical physicist, was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the 1990s, and currently serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, appointed by President Obama in 2009. She delivered her comments as a keynote speaker at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2011, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing.

Jackson's keynote, titled What if I Lived on the World Stage?, addressed the importance of meeting the challenges and opportunities presented today, with a global perspective: "We are fortunate to live in a time of interconnectedness, where communications and collective action are possible at an international level. We have seen the consequence of this in terms of social and structural change in a number of countries recently. However, in thrusting people of different cultures together daily and rapidly, our smaller world also creates difficulties in achieving true understanding and consideration."

Jackson continued, "Science and technology work across language and culture in a special way. They are global disciplines that reach past nationalities and ethnicities. Thanks to new technologies, we have the opportunity to work in a coordinated way as we face challenges that affect everyone on this planet."

To see the full video, visit

The Grace Hopper Celebration is produced by the Anita Borg Institute, which provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. Its programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. The institute is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. Partners include: Google, HP, Microsoft, CA Technologies, Cisco, Facebook, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, Marvell, National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, NetApp, SAP, Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Amazon, Broadcom, Motorola Foundation, Raytheon, Salesforce, and Yahoo! For more information, visit

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More Stories By Derek Harris

Derek Harris Sr. is a senior technology writer and blogger with more than 20 years experience in journalism.

While covering a broad spectrum of technology segments, his focus is weighted on enterprise technologies in the data storage, security and infrastructure spaces.