‘Science needs you’: The need for a diverse workforce in STEM fields

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Bridgette Shannon (left), chemist and business development manager, and Jayshree Seth (right), corporate scientist and chief science advocate, both work at 3M.
Courtesy photos

History is filled with women who’ve made enormous contributions to science. 

Alice Augusta Ball, a chemist, found a cure for leprosy. The first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, Marie Maynard Daly, discovered a connection between heart health and cholesterol back in 1955. 

Recently, viral immunologist Kizzmekia S. Corbett led a medical research team to develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

The impact women have made on science is life changing, but women are still underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. 

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Listen back to a conversation MPR News host Angela Davis had with two Minnesota scientists, Bridgette Shannon and Jayshree Seth. They talked about what it’s like to be a woman in the science field — overcoming barriers and finding success in their research and individual careers.  

Both Shannon and Seth are scientists at 3M, a multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Minnesota. But outside their daily tasks, they both work to help motivate the next generation of scientists.  

Shannon is the president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and works to diverse the STEM workforce through K-12 education. 

Seth is the author of two books, “The Heart of Science – Engineering Footprints, Fingerprints, & Imprints,” and “The Heart of Science: Engineering Fine Print.” Both books are published by the Society of Women Engineers, and sales benefit a scholarship for underrepresented minority women in STEM. Seth was also a speaker for Tedx Talks at St. Olaf College, where she spoke about her journey to becoming an advocate for diversity in STEM fields. 


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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.