UMass Alumna Cristina Thomas, who earned her doctorate in Chemical Engineering (ChE) here in 1992, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS). She is currently the global R&D services director at 3M, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Thomas has had over 29 years of service with 3M, starting as a senior research engineer after receiving her PhD from the UMass ChE department. Thomas started at 3M in 1992 and advanced through management positions involving technology and product development for automotive, residential, safety and security markets, strategic planning, and standardization of R&D process.
She became an early leader in chemical engineering’s molecular and materials modeling community (AIChE’s CoMSEF Forum), led the reinvention of the 3M window-film product platform, the design and implementation of new product introduction processes, and the incorporation of digital technologies in a new connected safety platform. She is a coinventor in more than 20 patents.
She persistently nurtures high performance to deliver innovative ideas with combinations of 3M core technologies. Today, her team is responsible for knowledge discovery and analytics, global technical learning and collaboration, government R&D contracts, global product lifecycle management (PLM), and global R&D processes. She received the 2019 AIChE Industry Leadership Award, the 2019 AICHE Management Division Award, and is an ACS fellow and an ACS PMSE fellow.
She is an active supporter of UMass Amherst via 3M Non-Tenure Faculty Grants, 3M-sponsored diversity seminar series, and leading the UMass University Recruiting Team (URG). As an active senior member of AIChE, Thomas participates in the AIChE Corporate Council & Industry Leader's, is a member of Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC) and was the chair of the Management Division (MGMT) in 2021, the chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee 2019 Spring Programming, and was involved with the planning and execution of the 2017 Annual Meeting. As an active senior member of ACS, she has chaired the ACS Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineer (PMSE) Membership Committee and is currently the treasurer.
Thomas has a passion for organizations that move new technologies into markets, for institutions that focus on education of underrepresented students and women in science, Education Focus on STEM & Business Curriculum | 3MGives, and is a member of the 3M STEM Council, of the 3M Social Justice Work Stream team, the industrial advisory group for CHiMaD and the Government University Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) sponsored by National Academy of Science.
She lives in Stillwater, Minn., with her husband and three children.