IP Students Share the Profession with Undergraduate STEM Scholars
On February 1, 2017 Andre Adkins (3L), Jeffrey Soller (2L), and Evan Glass (2L), who each participate in the Maurer IP Legal Clinic, gave a panel discussion to undergraduates about how they are using their STEM bachelor’s degrees to pursue careers in intellectual property law. While the three students shared a brief introduction to the three pillars of IP law—patents, trademarks, and copyrights—the true purpose of their presentation was to have a conversation with undergraduate students who are early in their STEM degrees and are trying to decide what they want to pursue in the future.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Indiana University’s STEM Groups Scholars Program is an initiative aimed at promoting underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines through research, mentoring, and academic support. The students who heard from Andre, Jeffrey, and Evan are freshmen with STEM majors enrolled in a class that is designed to answer two important questions: “What can I do with a degree in STEM?” and “How do I get there?” Jeffrey Soller, whose background is in physics, summed it up this way: “I’ve always liked explaining how things work—as a patent attorney, my job will still be to explain how things work, but in ways that haven’t been used before.” The law students also spoke about how being an IP attorney is like having a look into the future technologies that will develop. The students’ university advisor attends class with them to keep the conversation going once guest speakers leave.
Of the 15 students in the class, many of them did not know that intellectual property attorneys, particularly patent attorneys, need to have a background in STEM disciplines. Many others hadn’t considered law school as a viable graduate education opportunity. And, in all honesty, nearly every student was impressed by the employment and salary prospects for starting IP attorneys!
Overall, it was good to share the IP law profession with young IU students who still have time to decide where they will go with their STEM degrees.