Introducing Nicole Reilly

An introductory post from student blogger Nicole

Hello fellow Patent Law students, my name is Nicole Reilly and I’ve come all the way from Rowan University in New Jersey to study this awesome program!  Being a civil engineering student has taught me how to work hard and efficiently during my college career.  Throughout the years I learned a lot, but by the time senior year came I knew something wasn’t right; something was missing.  I realized that I didn’t want to settle as just an engineer, I wanted something different.  I knew I had to find a way to use my engineering abilities but not as an engineer.  Of course this was a huge deal considering I spent four years working towards a specific degree.  I liked the classes and everything, but I wasn’t interested in a typical day of a civil engineer.  So one day I was going through my emails and stumbled upon the MS in Patent Law email from the University of Notre Dame.  I read about it and looked more into it on the MS in Patent Law page on the University’s website.  I realized that this would be perfect for me!  What better way of using my engineering skills in a different field.  It’s actually funny to think about because when I was younger I always wanted to be a lawyer, but I was too young to know which kind or even if I really wanted to do it.  Now I have the opportunity to become a patent agent that combines my childhood dream and my engineering degree.  Not only will I be able to help people with their inventions, I will be able to hear about all kinds of new inventions.

Speaking of new inventions, I’ve always thought of myself as an amateur inventor.  I am constantly thinking of new inventions.  Every idea, every thought I have is written down.  I have a section in the notes on my phone where I write down all the ideas that I think of or that pop into my head.  I want to be able to use my love of inventions towards helping other people fulfill their dreams, turning their inventions into realities and what better way to do that then becoming a Patent Agent!

Introducing Josh Denison

An introductory post from student blogger Josh

Welcome to our blog for Notre Dame’s M.S. in Patent Law program! Stay tuned throughout this year to catch a glimpse into life as an MSPL student, so that you can learn more about who we are and what we do. My name is Josh Denison, and as I have yet to fully immerse myself in the life of an MSPL candidate, it seems fitting I tell you a little bit about who I am and how I arrived at the decision to pursue a career in patent law.

I grew up a curious child in the small town of Duvall, Washington. Aside from this curiosity, my only other notable trait was an incessant need to communicate. As I got older, my desire to work with new and exciting ideas through oration and writing persisted. I continued to enjoy pursuing knowledge of the natural sciences, and I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who pushed me to enter projects in local and regional science fairs. As a sophomore, I examined what physical properties of various materials affected the sounds of electric guitar pickups which I had made. This was my first experience with both technical writing and my undergraduate institution, Ohio Wesleyan University; I was awarded a scholarship for this work, and my eventual desire to attend a liberal arts university where I could study a variety of topics was fulfilled.

I didn’t initially attend OWU intending to study physical sciences, despite the scholarships that brought me there. Yet, I found myself riveted by the more difficult courses in physics and astronomy. When it came time to select a major, I settled on Astrophysics, as it satiated my childish curiosities and gave me a new lens through which to see my world. I took a position as a student intern at the local observatory, and did over two years of research with an advisor on imaging the surfaces of magnetically active stars. I presented my research at two annual meetings of the American Astronomical Society, and in doing so found my calling of writing and debating about ideas in science.

I applied to Notre Dame after hearing of their MSPL option from an OWU alumnus who completed the program two years ago. While I applied elsewhere, I knew that this program was an education in the very areas of my talents, and thus it rapidly evolved into my top choice. I was thrilled to receive an offer of admission, and as of a few weeks ago, Notre Dame will officially be my new home for next year. I cannot express how excited I am to begin the process of being educated in patent law, and I hope to be able to share my academic experience with you here.

Intoducing Brittany Butler

An introductory post from student blogger Brittany

As young research scientists we are too often told to follow the yellow brick road to academia and while that may be the end goal for many students, it cannot be said for all, as a growing number of graduates from the biomedical sciences field are venturing out into a variety of career paths. I am one of those graduates. My name is Brittany Butler and I recently received my Doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of Florida after receiving a dual Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, so as you may be able to tell I have a soft spot for science. As a trained microscopist, I enjoyed spending hours on the scope obtaining data for my dissertation which focused on understanding the molecular machinery responsible for altering proteins involved in Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction.

I was fortunate enough to attend a highly competitive Neuroscience program with an amazing mentor and despite my success as a graduate student, my passion did not encompass a career in academia, but I knew that I wanted a career that would incorporate my enthusiasm for the advancement of scientific research. It was during a workshop at the National Society for Neuroscience Conference that I first learned about the high demand for patent agents/lawyers with extensive scientific experience. The presenter, Paul A. Calvo, Ph.D., was genuinely enthused and forthcoming with the pros and cons of being a patent agent, such as high job satisfaction but extensive hours reading. His honesty regarding his choice to transition from what many consider a “traditional” career path to patent law and how his life had changed for the better immediately intrigued me. The idea of being able to work with lawyers and attorneys to patent compounds, antibodies and biotech devices seemed rather impressive. Upon leaving the meeting I felt encouraged; after years of debating between alternative fields I finally had an idea about the career path that suited my passions and goals.

Because I’m quite methodical in nature, I spoke with as many people and read as many articles as I could about a career transition to Patent Law to determine if it was right for me. Luckily for me, I knew VaNae Hamilton, Ph.D., a student in the 2014 entering class of the Masters in Patent Law Program (MSPL) at The University of Notre Dame. She like me was a recent biomedical sciences Ph.D. graduate, so our stories paralleled although she was a few steps ahead.  I knew that The University of Notre Dame was an exceptional academic institution, and because I am originally from the Midwest, the thought of going back was comforting although I had grown accustom to Florida winters. I picked VaNae’s brain with questions about her personal experience with the program and I could tell she was all-around very satisfied. The curriculum is not only well structured and detailed for the success of students with a science or engineering background, but it also provides hands-on experience in the field which was crucial in my decision to apply. Prior to my acceptance I often spoke with the Program Director, Karen Deak, Ph.D., and other members of the administration and I immediately felt welcomed, so when I finally got my acceptance letter I was beyond ecstatic.  Initially it was daunting to think I was going back to school yet again and change isn’t easy, but I knew this was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up, that I couldn’t pass up. I look forward to starting the MSPL program in fall of 2015 and trading out my tickets to the swamp for front row seats to Touchdown Jesus!