Jayshree Seth

Jayshree Seth

Corporate Scientist at 3M

3M’s Jayshree Seth Faces Megatrends like Climate Change and the Digital Revolution, while Debunking Misperceptions about Skilled Trades

Hello Jayshree, please introduce yourself and your role. 

My name is Jayshree Seth and I am a Corporate Scientist at 3M. In 2018, I was also appointed 3M's first-ever Chief Science Advocate. Corporate Scientist is the highest technical designation for a scientist at 3M and in this role, I work with other engineers and scientists to break down complex problems and find technical solutions to everyday problems. 

As Chief Science Advocate, I use my scientific knowledge and professional experience to advance science and communicate the benefits of science and the importance of diversity in STEM fields to drive innovation. I’m fortunate that both roles allow me to combine my scientific expertise and creativity with my passion for problem-solving. 

What led you to this industry? 

Science was all around me growing up. My father was a civil engineering professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, and my family lived on campus — I was surrounded by STEM professionals. While I was encouraged to pursue a STEM education, the context was always missing for me: Why am I doing this? Who does it help? Why is this important? The answers to these questions came later when I was in graduate school and I realised that a career in science could mean improving lives and solving problems. That only became more evident when I began my career at 3M, where using science to solve the world’s problems is the company’s mission.    

Tell us about your career at 3M. 

I joined 3M in 1993 after receiving an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in New York. I started my career in what used to be 3M's Disposable Products Division (DPD), where I worked on components for disposable soft goods such as diapers. 

In 2006, I moved to the Industrial Adhesive and Tapes Division (IATD), where I led technology development for sustainable products for our Industrial market. With decades of support from 3M, I've had the opportunity to work in multi-functional teams, develop technology building blocks, receive 80 U.S. patents for a variety of innovations and commercialise a wide range of products.

Tell us about the 2023 3M State of Science Index. 

At 3M, we are all about science. It is our most distinguishing characteristic and is what ties our businesses together. Because science matters to us, in 2018, we set out to understand how the world perceived science, too. This led to the launch of our first 3M State of Science Index — our original, third-party research that explores the global perceptions of science and examines global science trends. 

Last year, we released our 2023 3M State of Science Index, which surveyed 14 countries, including 1,000 respondents per country and covered topics ranging from trust in science, health equity, skilled trades and STEM education, sustainability, innovation and more. A few standout findings include:

  • 92% of people around the world see a consequence if their country cannot find a solution to the shortage of skilled trade workers – from declines in overall quality of life, to negative economic impact, neglected public infrastructure and safety risks.  
  • 93% believe skilled trade jobs have a positive impact on society, yet 56% believe there is a negative stigma around being a skilled trade worker.

How are you debunking common misperceptions of skilled trades and confronting the negative stigma that discourages people from pursuing such careers? 

To help debunk these misconceptions, it’s important that we shift the perception that exists and is stopping professionals from entering the trades. In fact, 90% of people believe more individuals would pursue a trade career if perceptions of the field improved. To encourage more individuals to enter these vital careers, we must inspire individuals to consider skilled trades and educate them on the spectrum of career paths and opportunities available in the trades, the specialised skill sets required of tradespeople and the potential earnings.

Last year to help raise awareness, inspire and educate the public around the opportunities available in the trades, 3M released Skilled, a docuseries created to dispel misperceptions and showcase diverse and meaningful trade careers. Based on insights from the 3M State of Science Index, Skilled has helped to spark a conversation about the modern realities of the skilled trades and why that may be preventing more people from pursuing these careers. 

Our hope is that by highlighting the diversity and breadth of trade careers in this docuseries — and how workers can find personal fulfilment and professional success along their respective journeys — we are helping educate tomorrow’s workforce and open the door for careers that they may not have ever imagined possible.

What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company? 

Megatrends like climate change, demographic shifts and the digital revolution represent broad, global challenges. While these forces have the potential to impact daily life, they also represent enormous opportunity. We believe science will be critical to navigating the future and addressing these global challenges and we will be working on these challenges actively in the coming years. At 3M we are committed to science-based, scalable, sustainable innovation — to making what is indispensable to empower modern life, advance human progress and deliver a brighter future for all. 

I am also looking forward to completing and launching my third book this year — the last one in The Heart of Science trilogy — where  all proceeds from the books go to a scholarship for underrepresented minority women administered by Society of Women Engineers (SWE)



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