3M drives innovation through an extraordinary pool of talented researchers, technicians, scientists and engineers around the world. With the unique opportunity to encourage our youth to explore the wonders of science, the following 3M scientists are vey excited to participate as hosts of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge:
Dr. Olester Benson is currently a staff scientist and technical group leader in the 3M Corporate Research Process Laboratory. Since joining 3M in 1988, Benson has spent the majority of his career leading research efforts to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing process technologies using high-energy radiation. He has applied these technologies in the medical, safety, traffic control, energy, aerospace, home improvement, semiconductor processing, and electronic display industries. For his work, Benson has received 41 issued patents with 27 still pending.
Benson, a member of the Carlton Society, which honors outstanding technical employees at 3M, also serves as a volunteer and mentor in the 3M Science Training Encouragement Program (STEP), which recruits, supports, and trains promising high school students from underrepresented groups.
Alex C. Cirillo, Jr. currently serves as Vice President of Community Affairs, as well as Vice President of the 3M Foundation, which devotes half of its resources to education. The 3M Foundation also invests in teacher development and other programs that connect learning to every day life, college access and support for student retention at all levels.
Cirillo started at 3M in 1983 as a senior physicist working in small particle technology and later moved on to lead 3M's first laboratory in filtration products. Since then, Cirillo has held many roles within 3M, which have taken him from the Commercial Graphics Division all the way to the President and General Manager of 3M Canada. Cirillo's professional responsibilities at 3M are complemented by extensive mentoring experience both inside and outside the company, which he has done for several years.
Eric Jackson, a chemical engineer in the 3M Protective Materials Division, started working at 3M in 1995 as a project engineer. He became a process engineer shortly after, working with polymers, specialty chemicals, and ceramics. During Jackson's tenure he has worked on a wide variety of 3M products, including medical and dental devices, abrasives, tinted auto window films, adhesives, liquid filtration, and most recently, the Scotchgard™ and Scotch-Brite┬« brands.
Jackson came to 3M with what most would call an unusual background. After receiving a B.A. in music, Jackson spent twenty years working for a number of record and production companies.
Dr. Joe Oxman is a 3M Corporate Scientist with 3M's Dental Health Care Division (3M ESPE). Having been at 3M for more than 25 years, he is considered an expert in photocurable systems, nanotechnology, glass ionomer materials and hard tissue adhesives. With 75 issued parents and 20 pending US patents, Oxman played a key role in revolutionizing the dental industry by helping to create tooth colored restorative filling materials to replace conventional metal fillings.
Thanks to his outstanding work, Oxman has received several prestigious awards including the American Chemical Society Award, the 3M Corporate Genesis Research Grant Awards and he was inducted into the 3M Carlton Society, which honors outstanding technical employees at 3M. In addition to teaching several classes on innovation in the dental industry, Oxman has been involved in the 3M Summer Teacher's program and mentored students of all ages who have an interest in science.
Dr. Thomas Wood, a 3M Corporate Scientist, joined 3M in 1980 and played a valuable role in creating the foundation for nanotechnology development at the company. Since then, Wood's research has focused on inorganic and ceramic materials, which has led to a wide range of inventions that have improved highway safety, power conduction, and environmental conservation. To date, his inventions have resulted in 35 granted patents, with seven still pending.
Wood has also been the recipient of multiple 3M awards and grants, and is a member of the Carlton Society, which honors outstanding technical employees at 3M. Wood has frequently contributed as an editor and chairperson for professional societies, and also gives invited lectures at different universities and professional meetings.
Caroline Ylitalois the lead research specialist for the Safety, Security and Protection Services Business Lab at 3M. Throughout her career, Ylitalo has focused on developing new technologies that can be used across many 3M businesses and has over 30 issued patents. Examples include a line of inks and films for digitally printed commercial graphics and traffic signs, antimicrobial wound care dressings and odor resistant insulation.
Since joining 3M in 1992, Caroline has always been an active participant and volunteer in various science encouragement organizations including participation in the 3M Visiting Wizards program, judging at local and state science fairs and coaching Destination Imagination and Math Counts teams.