Get ready to be inspired by our latest SWE podcast with TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year, Gitanjali Rao. Interviewed by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Ellen DeGeneres, Gitanjali has become quite the star—and for good reason. At just 15 years old, this brilliant young innovator has designed and built technology and tools that address serious issues like water contamination, opioid addiction and cyberbullying.
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Get to know Gitanjali and her innovations in this SWE Diverse episode, hosted by SWE 2020 Achievement Award recipient Jayshree Seth, chief science advocate at 3M. We promise, it’ll leave you feeling inspired and eager to help the world through engineering.
“Each and every one of us has the power to change the world.”
Gitanjali Rao was recognized as Discovery Education 3M America’s Top Young Scientist in 2017 and received an EPA Presidential award for inventing her device “Tethys”—an early lead detection tool. Gitanjali is also the inventor of “Epione”—a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “Kindly”—an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.
She was honored as Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2019 and TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, which has inspired over thirty-five thousand students in the last two years across four continents. In her sessions, she shares her own process of innovation that can be used by students all over the world. She is an experienced TED speaker and often presents in global and corporate forums on innovation and the importance of STEM.
She is an author of the book, “Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM” which will release in March 2021, and was recently honored as Time Kid of the Year 2020 for her community service and innovations.
Jayshree Seth, Ph.D., is a Corporate Scientist for 3M Company, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, where she has worked for over 27 years. She holds 70 patents on a variety of innovations, with several others pending. Dr. Seth uses scientific knowledge, technical expertise, and professional experience to advance science and develop new products. She currently leads applied technology development for sustainable industrial products in 3M’s Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division. She is also 3M’s first-ever Chief Science Advocate and is charged with communicating the importance of science in everyday life, breaking down barriers, and building excitement around STEM careers. She is very passionate about teaching, coaching, mentoring and is a sought-after speaker, globally, on a multitude of topics such as innovation, leadership, and science advocacy. Dr. Seth has been interviewed in national and international media, and she has featured in 3M brand campaigns and commercials.
Dr. Seth is the fourth woman and first woman engineer to attain the highest technical designation of Corporate Scientist at 3M, as well as induction into the 3M Carlton Society, which honors the very best among the scientific community. She is also a certified Design for Six Sigma Black Belt. At 3M, she has served on the CEO Inclusion Council, chaired the Asian and Asian American Employee Network (A3CTION), and serves on the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) Technical Chapter. She has received numerous 3M excellence awards and a record-setting number of intrapreneurial grants to drive innovation. She was conferred the 2020 Achievement Award from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the 2019 International Women & Technologies’ Le Tecnovisionarie® award for sustainability, the 2020 Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts River Valley, the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater in India, and was also among engineers selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 14th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium.
Dr. Seth grew up in Northern India, in the university town of Roorkee, at the foothills of the Himalayas and on the banks of the River Ganges canal. She holds a B.Tech. in chemical engineering from NIT, Trichy, India, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Clarkson University, New York. Jayshree is a member of the Engineering Advisory Council for Clarkson University. Dr. Seth has over 15 journal publications based on her graduate work, co-authoring several with her husband, who also works at 3M. They enjoy extending science, creativity, and innovation into their kitchen. They have two adult children. Dr. Seth enjoys experiencing other cultures and she is also an avid reader, writer and poet.
Read SWE’s newest publication, The Heart of Science: Engineering Footprints, Fingerprints, & Imprints, written by Jayshree Seth. In The Heart of Science, Seth discusses the relationship society has with science and engineering and offers her unique perspective on topics surrounding advocacy, interdisciplinary contexts, thoughtful leadership and inclusive progress. She also leans on her childhood experiences, and those of her children, as source material on the lessons she has learned during her career journey. All proceeds from the sale of the book will support the Jayshree Seth Scholarship for Women of Color in STEM. This scholarship—to be awarded annually by the Society of Women Engineers—will support a woman pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in a STEM field.