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Shirley Ann Jackson * Shirley Ann Jackson Elected President of AAAS

Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., has been elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Triple A-S” (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of Science magazine. She will become president of AAAS in February 2004.
“The AAAS is a strong platform for addressing the urgent issues of harnessing the nation’s future science and engineering workforce,” said Jackson. “This is especially critical at a time when the role of science and engineering in our national security is recognized as being more important than ever. The nation requires a significant investment in human capital if it is to maintain its pre-eminence. There is no more urgent priority. The very future depends upon it.”

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Hooray for Molecules!
Children are cheering for the country’s only “Molecularium,” which opened last week in The Junior Museum’s Lally Digistar II Planetarium. The “Molecularium” uses a planetarium setting to teach K-3 students about molecules and matter. It is a collaboration of Rensselaer’s Nanotechnology Center and The Junior Museum, with funds from the NSF’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative.

Practical Design
Student architects Brendan Harnett and Michelle Myers designed a mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic that won “Best Student Entry” and second-place overall in an international competition sponsored by Architecture for Humanity. Harnett and Myers were the only student team and the only U.S. entrants to win in a field of more than 522 teams representing 50 nations. The unit will be used in sub-Saharan Africa to combat the AIDS pandemic.

An Alliance for Science
Rensselaer has formed an alliance with two upstate universities and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez to enroll more minority students in graduate programs and to produce more minority professors. The alliance, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, has received a $2.5 million grant to attract, recruit, and retain minority students.

Leading by Example
Richard McNutt has been rated number one in the nation in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program out of a field of 4,000 students. A senior at Rensselaer, he excelled in a rating system that considered academics, fitness, and leadership. Known for never slacking off, McNutt maintains a 4.0 grade point average with dual majors in biophysics and biochemistry, can run two miles in 12 minutes, and leads by example. He was recently profiled in the Times Union.

Building Better Body Parts
Tiny three-dimensional scaffolds of bioengineered tissue hold promise for the replacement of damaged body parts or entire organs. Jan Stegemann, a biomedical engineer, is developing a blood vessel embedded in a matrix of collagen and fibrin to study how the cell's function changes in a non-native environment. His findings will lead to a better understanding of how to build biological structures that can become fully formed and functional implantable tissue.

Obstacles and Entrepreneurs
Rensselaer alumnus John J. McDonnell Jr., CEO of Transaction Network Services, cautioned students that every young business runs into some problem. “It's how you react to the unplanned, unforeseen obstacles that determines how successful your business is,” he said. McDonnell was just named Rensselaer’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
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Photograph credit: "Shirley Ann Jackson" by Mark McCarty
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