Women of Color in STEM Honored on MLK Day
Jan 22, 2019
Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison delivered the keynote address at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebration honoring women of color in STEM.

One-hundred-year-old Katherine Coleman Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose story was featured in the film Hidden Figures, was honored at the 33rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebration hosted by the State of Minnesota Governor’s Council on Jan. 21. Coleman Johnson’s daughters explained that she would have been there to accept her award in person – but January in St. Paul is “kind of cold.”

Three busloads of 3M employees were among hundreds of attendees who celebrated the contributions of Coleman Johnson and other women of color in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). As a science-based company committed to diversity, 3M was pleased to be the lead sponsor of this event, which focused on themes of equality and representation in STEM.   

In his remarks, 3M CEO Mike Roman talked about the importance of facing reality to address socioeconomic inequities. “Much more needs to be done,” he said. “It requires our combined efforts. And the business community has the opportunity and responsibility to lead. As CEO, I commit to ensuring 3M is doing our part.” Read Roman’s full remarks in his LinkedIn post.

The event was streamed online by Twin Cities PBS, and the recording can be watched here. Highlights include:

  • Keynote speaker Dr. Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut to travel to space
  • Dr. Reatha Clark King, businesswoman, philanthropist and educator, honored with the Governor’s Civil Rights Legend Award
  • Katherine Coleman Johnson, educator, mathematician and NASA trailblazer honored with the Governor’s Equity and Justice Legacy Award
  • Remarks by Minnesota officials including St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Governor Tim Walz, and Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar

Another highlight was sixth grader and STEM enthusiast Peyton Vincent who introduced Dr. Jemison. The room erupted in applause when Peyton proclaimed, “I am your future.”

Dr. Jemison’s keynote speech touched on themes of representation, access and opportunity, and the need to take risks and get involved. “If Peyton is the future, then we’re right now,” she said.


From left to right, Adrienne Broaddus, anchor/reporter KARE 11 news; Mike Roman, 3M CEO; James Burroughs, Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota; and Ann Anaya, 3M Chief Diversity Officer. Photo credit: Kelechi Uchegbu, XLNTMedia

As science helps solve the world’s most pressing challenges, all perspectives are needed.  Learn what 3M is doing to help build a diverse STEM workforce.

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