In honor of Black History Month, we’re applauding modern history makers such as Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett, PhD who have paved the way for future generations in STEM-related fields. Next up is Lisa P. Jackson, the first African American Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After graduating summa cum laude from Tulane University and earning a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, Jackson began her career at the EPA in 1987 as a staff-level scientist. She joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2002 and, just four years later, was appointed agency commissioner. In 2008, she was nominated by President Obama to become EPA Administrator and was confirmed in 2009.

During her five-year tenure as EPA Administrator, Jackson focused on modernizing laws, standards, and regulations related to chemical management; climate change; air quality; drinking water and waterway protection; and environmental justice. In addition to strengthening state and tribal partnerships, she also prioritized public outreach in an effort to help the EPA better serve traditionally underrepresented and vulnerable communities. For her work, she received many accolades, including being named one of Newsweek’s “Most Important People,” Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and Essence’s “40 Women Who Have Influenced the World.” In 2013, Jackson stepped down as EPA Administrator to join Apple Inc. as its Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, where she continues to address climate change, renewable energy, and conservation.

Thanks to dedicated individuals like Lisa P. Jackson for inspiring us, and countless others, to follow our passions and pursue careers in the STEM field.