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.
Bridgette Shannon is a chemist and a business development manager in 3M’s Transportation and Electronics Business Group. She was the first African American woman to complete and earn a Ph.D. from the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Arkansas. Bridgette is the president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Jayshree Seth is a corporate scientist at 3M and the company’s first chief science advocate. She joined 3M in 1993 and holds 80 patents for a variety of innovations. In 2020 she was awarded the highest Achievement Award by the Society of Women Engineers. She is the fourth woman — and first woman engineer — to be inducted into the Carlton Society – 3M’s science and innovation “hall of fame.” Jayshree serves on the Board of the Science Museum of Minnesota. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Clarkson University.
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.