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 student coaches during the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge:
Dr. Olester Benson is currently a Corporate Scientist 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.
Caroline Ylitalo is the lead research specialist for the Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division. 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.
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 ScotchgardTM 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 79 issued parents and more than 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.
Tony Clinch is the Technical Director of 3M's Office Supplies Division. He started his 27 year career working on novel processes to make fluoropolymers, polyolefins and reactive graft blends. This led to 4 patents and to his recognition as Minnesota's Young Chemical Engineer of the Year in 1995. Clinch later managed a technical team in 3M's Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division that developed new masking tapes with a patented, solvent-less process. Since joining Office Supplies Division in 2006, Clinch helped champion numerous new products and environmental efforts including the launch in 2010 of Post-it® Greener Notes which use an adhesive that is made from plant based materials.
In addition, Tony has held numerous positions within 3M's employee recreation group, the 3M Club, including serving as president on two separate occasions. He has served on the Engineering Advisory Board at Montana State University, and he has also been a mentor to new employees at 3M.