Dr. Jayshree Seth is a Corporate Scientist and Chief Science Advocate at 3M. Jayshree has worked at 3M now for over 27 years and she holds 68 patents for a wide variety of innovations. In this interview series, Jayshree shares her experience with 3M, advocating for diversity in science and more.
How has COVID-19 and BLM impacted 3M’s science advocacy efforts? What do they mean for the future of science advocacy and STEM?
The coronavirus has indeed brought unique challenges to schools, educators, parents and students. We are living in an era where distance learning is the norm and people are anxiously awaiting news about the status of back-to-school and what that even looks like.
Science education and STEM areas are also impacted by the racism virus. We need all the diversity of thoughts and experiences we can get in order to creatively solve the problems we face and to unlock a sustainable future. STEM professionals and academics have a huge influence on shaping the world — however of all the scientists and engineers in the U.S., only 3 percent are black American men and just 2 percent are black American women, according to 2015 data compiled by the National Science Foundation.
For several years, 3M has focused its STEM investments on advancing equitable outcomes for underrepresented and under-resourced students. The events over the past few months has reinforced our commitment to STEM equity. In April 2020, we launched 3M Science at Home, simple at home experiments as demonstrated by 3M scientists that parents and students aged 6-12 can perform together at home. COVID-19 and distance learning has highlighted the need to close the educational achievement gap. 3M remains committed to enrich and expand programs that enhance the quality of education and that supports more equitable STEM learning opportunities. Our goal is to increase interest in STEM and to help remove barriers to success for students of color.