Mariya Gelman is a Research and Development Manager in HP’s 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Business. She leads a team of scientists and engineers developing 3D printing materials for HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. Mariya joined HP in 2012 and has worked with several of HP’s key technologies including Thermal Inkjet, and Multi Jet Fusion. Joining the 3D organization in 2015, Mariya became a core member of the team that launched HP’s first 3D printer. Mariya is passionate about giving back to the community and has held various community outreach volunteering roles within HP. She currently serves on HP’s 3D Network of Women, where she is responsible for attracting more women into 3D at HP. Mariya also actively promotes STEM to middle-school girls by developing and leading hands-on workshops in STEM subjects, making the experience educational and fun for the students and growing the next generation of female leaders. Mariya holds a B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering and an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Mariya resides in San Diego, CA.

Mariya, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?

I started my career at HP 8 years ago and held several technical roles developing and integrating novel inks and materials for HP’s Inkjet and Liquid Electrophotography businesses. When HP delved into 3D printing, I was offered a position on the development team to support the launch of our first 3D printer. I didn’t hesitate at the chance to be a part of this cutting-edge development and learn the new technology. The interplay of material science and physics appealed to me and allowed me to leverage my education in chemical engineering to develop and integrate new materials into the Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) process. I’m passionate about learning and developing new skills and HP has supported me with rotations across different projects. My current role as a Research and Development Manager allows me to continue learning everyday as my team and I work hard to expand HP’s 3D materials portfolio. 

HP 3D Printing has an internal Network of Women. Can you tell us more about this group and your actions? 

HP’s 3D Printing Network of Women was established to support and develop women in the 3D organization. The group’s charter consists of 3 pillars: 

  • Attract: Represent HP as an exciting destination for women innovators
  • Develop: Drive career advancement and focus on ongoing development and enrichment opportunities
  • Inspire:  Provide opportunities for women in 3D to come together and create a network to share ideas and support each other

I volunteered to co-lead the Attract pillar to take an active approach encouraging more women to join our organization.  Personally, I can attest to the career opportunities available at HP and wanted to share my enthusiasm with others. 

In addition to our external brand, we are also looking internally and planning workshops and training for managers to promote diversity and inclusion in hiring. For example, eliminating unintentional bias in job descriptions is one way to attract a more diverse talent pool.  

Increased gender diversity in the workplace benefits everyone, not just women. Diversity of thought builds more productive and successful organizations and advances a more inclusive culture.  

Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?

Earlier this year, I volunteered in a STEM mentoring program for middle school girls (middle-school years are a pivotal time to retain a girl’s interest in STEM). I designed a lesson plan on 3D printing, including a hands-on exercise where the students created personalized designs using Tinkercad and then printed the objects on a Jet Fusion printer. During the lesson, I asked the class who had seen a 3D printer before and to my surprise, everyone raised their hand. I was very impressed that students were being exposed to this technology so early in their education.

The opportunities that these students have been given became even more evident during the Tinkercad exercises, as the students were able to outpace most of us mentors with their ability to use the design software. It was challenging but fun to try to keep up! 

While impressed by the capabilities of these students, it occurred to me that this is by far not the norm. Many kids across the U.S., especially those in inner-city schools, do not have the means for hands-on learning with advanced technology like this. As industry leaders, we have the opportunity to make 3D printing ubiquitous in design and manufacturing by incorporating it into the curriculum. If we’re ever going to realize the full potential of Additive Manufacturing, we must get it into the hands of students earlier so they can continue to outpace us with their seemingly boundless aptitude and imagination. 

Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing?

HP is a company that values diversity and has made large strides in recent years to attract more women into technical roles. In fact, the majority of my immediate team is female.

While there are still times when I find myself as the only woman in the room, it’s becoming less frequent. Even then, I feel that my experience and opinion is valued. 

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

Hands-down, the most impactful use of 3D printing that I’ve seen is the recent COVID-19 response to produce critical PPE parts for first responders and hospitals. The value of 3D printing became especially evident as the pandemic caused severe disruptions to traditional supply chains, resulting in a surge in demand for items like masks and face shields to combat the spread of the virus. The flexibility of 3D printing was used to rapidly scale production of these designs and bridge the supply chain gaps.  

When HP mobilized its technology, experience and production capacity to produce PPE, my team and I worked around the clock to print and donate these parts to first responders. In San Diego, we transformed our R&D lab into a PPE factory and began producing and donating over 2,000 face shields a week to hospitals across the US at the peak of the outbreak. Similar efforts were underway at HP sites in Oregon, Washington and Spain. In addition to face shields, the team collaborated on other critical PPE designs including 3D-printed face masks, ventilator components, and personal accessories like hands-free door openers. All HP proprietary designs were made available for free so anyone can download and print them anywhere in the world. Our team also worked closely with leading researchers at Harvard University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to refine a 3D-printed nasopharyngeal test swab design and printing process. The swabs, printed with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology, are now readily available to US medical centers.  

This effort really showcased the benefits of 3D printing technology with the speed at which these applications were developed and scaled. I’m really proud that HP and our partners have produced more than 2.3 million 3D-printed PPE and medical device parts such as face shields, masks, nasal swabs and more for hospitals to battle COVID-19.

What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?

The most important part of stepping into a new field is your passion and curiosity. Don’t count yourself out because you don’t have relevant experience or the “ideal” background.

Look for opportunities to merge your skills with the many different facets of the business and technology.  What will drive the success of 3D printing is not just advancements in the technology but breakthrough applications that address real-world needs and increase adoption. 

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing? 

To encourage more women to join, we should highlight the women already in the industry and the roles they hold throughout all parts of the business.

Role models enable us to envision ourselves succeeding in similar circumstances and empower us to pursue new challenges.

Oftentimes, organizations focus more on recruiting women into the field rather than supporting and developing the women that are already a part of it. Invest in leadership development and sponsorship programs to help open doors to more opportunities for women to lead. I’ve been grateful to have many mentors and sponsors, both women and men, at HP and those relationships have been some of the most valuable experiences in my career. I’ve also participated in formal leadership training programs, some curated specifically for women, which helped me to develop an authentic leadership style and personal brand. The development opportunities I received continue to inspire me to reach out and mentor others.  When women thrive and move into leadership roles, they pave the way for the next generation of female leaders.   

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

In partnership with BASF, we just released a new Polypropylene material for use in HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 printer. This product opens the door to industrial applications requiring good chemical resistance and weldability.  The material can also achieve 100% reusability of the unused powder, lowering cost and reducing the environmental footprint.

I can’t divulge the details of future products, but I’m very excited by the partnerships we have established that will continue to widen our materials portfolio and enable breakthrough applications. 

Favorite 3D tool? 

TinkerCAD is great for anyone starting with 3D design. It’s highly intuitive and free to use. 

Favorite moment in your day job? 

Kicking-off a new development program with my team

What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years? 

Biosourced and biodegradable powder-based materials

Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?

The incredible women on my team—Rachael Donovan, Carolin Fleischmann and Erica Fung.

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