This shows that young women are keen to make their mark by applying their science skills to build technology and products for the future.
Despite being in the early stages of her career, Nagashree is already making a difference as part of a team developing sustainable film solutions.
“I have a passion for polymers and how they impact our lives,” Nagashree explains, adding that she wants to change the perception of these materials given their importance in everyday life.
“These are products we use day in and day out. We get up in the morning and use them in our toothbrushes, milk pouches, the tyres of our vehicles, and so on.”
“The value chain for it starts early, so I wanted to be part of new research into these products as I feel connected with the industry.”
After graduating university, Nagashree worked in the petrochemicals industry for two years before joining ExxonMobil’s Bengaluru Research and Development Technology Centre. She wanted to join ExxonMobil due to “the great opportunity to innovate.”
“I happened to visit exhibitions where ExxonMobil was prominent and saw the research the company is doing to improve living standards while addressing the dual energy challenge,” Nagashree said.
“I’d heard that ExxonMobil has a really collaborative work culture and the thought process is next level, so I just had to be a part of that.”
“As a research technologist for polyethylene film testing, I look into the composition and strength of materials like milk pouches to ensure there are no leaks,” she said.
“We also deal with different films like greenhouse films used for crop protection, snack packages and shrink films that are used to package food, beverages, and other merchandise.”
“We recently filed a patent for a new shrink film we created. Our collaboration helped our customer—a local packaging manufacturer—to change the material they were using earlier, and this resulted in a higher-quality shrink wrap. This has allowed us to patent the shrink film and make a better product for India. That’s a success we want to keep repeating,” she said.
“We also try to bring different formulations that can be more recyclable.”
Nagashree also encourages other young women to join the industry. “I’m really proud to represent women in STEM.”
She added that choosing to work in a specialized STEM field helped her stand out from the crowd and forge her own path.
“Being in a technology team helps you to keep the inner child and curiosity alive. So the way you see things is different than others, and that enriches your life,” she says.
While she is just getting started in her career, Nagashree is already working to create new solutions, combining her enthusiasm for engineering with innovation to change the perception of plastics in the country and pave the way for other women in STEM.