Local 3M employee pushing to get more girls excited about STEM

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New research on people's understanding of how science plays a role in their everyday lives launched a local woman into a new role at a Minnesota company. In her new position, she's pushing girls to get pumped up about STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. 

Jayshree Seth is a corporate scientist, 3M's highest distinction.

The Minnesotan is only the fourth woman, and first woman engineer, to be inducted into the Carlton Society, essentially 3M's innovation hall of fame. Seth also holds 67 patents, including one for baby diaper fasteners.    

It's Seth's role as chief science advocate that has her working hard to get girls excited about STEM, a role literally born out of 3M's 2019 State of Science Index Survey.

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"Almost 40% said if science didn't exist their lives would be no different," Seth said about the survey results. "This is a big wake up call for us."

Now, 3M's 2020 survey will include new questions about why people feel the way they do about science. In the meantime, Seth is talking with girls about why they should be involved in STEM.

Some may recognize Seth from 3M TV commercials she's in. In one of them, Seth said, "I recently spoke to a group of students about being a scientist at 3M. I wanted them to know that innovation is not just about that one ah-ha moment." 

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In another 3M TV commercial Seth said, "At the end of the day, we are people helping people." 

Growing up, Seth thought she was too artsy to be in STEM.

"I think it's very important for me to tell my story… I never thought of myself as the science and engineering type because I didn't have the context on what scientists do," she said.

Seth doesn't want other girls to be in the dark.

"I didn't realize that all of these skills– creativity, innovation, collaboration, ability to inspire– they are critical for taking science and turning it into innovation," she said.

Seth's efforts seem to be working. This spring, the River Valley Girl Scouts are honoring her with the Women of Distinction Award for her efforts to get more young women excited about STEM.