“I don’t look like your typical scientist. That really used to discourage me… [But] if I can do it, anybody can do it.” This line in 3M’s docuseries, Not The Science Type, gets to the heart of representation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and advances a conversation around stereotypes and their negative impact on STEM diversity, equity and inclusion. This four-part docuseries reveals the human impact of insights uncovered in the 3M State of Science Index, a global original research study that confirms girls and women in STEM still face obstacles because of their gender.
Around the world, 90% of people believe we need more people in STEM careers. At the same time, barriers remain. Underrepresented minorities often do not receive equal access to STEM education and respondents agree we need to do more to engage and retain women/girls engaged in STEM education.
"Events of the past year have put a spotlight on the education gap within underserved communities," said Dr. Jayshree Seth, corporate scientist and chief science advocate, 3M. "Gender inequalities, and unequal access to a quality STEM education for under-resourced students, continue to affect economic outcomes across the globe. We must all do our part to create greater opportunities, by strengthening STEM investments, eliminating underrepresentation in STEM, and bridging the STEM talent gap so that we can all realize the promise of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society."
The docuseries highlights four brilliant minds, showcasing women who break down boundaries within their fields. While each woman has taken a different path to pursue scientific excellence, they are bound by the common experience of feeling excluded or “not the type” in traditionally homogenous fields. Gitanjali Rao, TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year 2020, is a 15-year-old inventor who is on a mission to inspire and create a global community of young innovators to solve problems all over the world. Dr. Ciara Sivels is a nuclear engineer with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and the first Black woman to earn a PhD from the University of Michigan in nuclear engineering. The series also features global health scientist and microbiologist Dr. Jessica Taaffe and Dr. Jayshree Seth, chemical engineer and 3M’s chief scientist advocate, with 72 patents to her name. The film relays a message of hope and inspiration for future generations as these women overcome inherent bias and breakthrough the boundaries to show all that is possible.
The film debuted at a special screening hosted by 3M during the 2021 Tribeca Festival in New York City and is now available on Apple TV and Google Play.
3M is invested in supporting STEM access and education. The innovations that continue to come out of the organization are made possible by those who refuse to follow the status quo; who see problems as opportunities to improve what exists and invent what doesn’t. Not The Science Type is just one portion of 3M’s commitment to fostering STEM talent in all ages and all genders. From committing to create five million unique STEM and skilled trades learning experiences by 2025 for underrepresented individuals to the Young Scientist Challenge in the US to the Young Innovators Challenge in India, 3M is committed to supporting tomorrow’s innovators today.