Engineering major ventures into patent law

  • Biomedical engineering senior Emmalie Gulledge has bridged her degree to her patent law aspirations through her work at WSU Ventures this year.
  • Mentorship and networking are among the most valuable experiences she feels she has received through working at WSU Ventures.
  • Diverse practices and academic experiences can converge through applied learning opportunities.

Emmalie Gulledge, senior, at the WSU Ventures office


Biomedical engineering junior Emmalie Gulledge has bridged her degree to her patent law aspirations through her work at WSU Ventures this year. While her major wouldn’t ordinarily prepare her for law school, her applied learning experiences in intellectual property and technology transfer have brought her dream a lot closer to reality.

“I’ve always wanted to be a patent attorney,” she said, “but I didn’t really know exactly where to start, what to do when, and when to take different tests.”

Emmalie’s work has enabled her to use her experiences as a biomedical engineering major in the service of other engineers at WSU. One of WSU Ventures’ goals is helping WSU faculty and staff bring their intellectual ideas to life and protecting their ideas through patents.

“A lot of our patents that we get in are biomedical related,” she said. “So I already have the background that I can actually understand when we’re reading the patents, because it’s not too foreign from what I’ve studied in class.”

Emmalie researches existing patents and legal actions when clients seek to patent their ideas. She has worked with numerous departments and agencies inside and out of WSU.

“We’ve done aviation through NIAR and biomedical related patents from all the labs,” she said. “Basically every single lab that Wichita State has that’s innovative is getting funneled through WSU Ventures to get patents and find outside resources.”

Through her mentor, Rob Gerlach, director of intellectual property and technology transfer at WSU Ventures, she has been able to network and build experience in patent law. Emmalie considers Rob’s mentorship a significant advantage to her.

“Having someone who’s done it before and work me through it – that’s the most valuable experience that I’ve gotten,” she said.

Emmalie feels more prepared for law school after graduation.

“It’s definitely reassuring that this is the school that I’m supposed to be at, especially for what education I wanted and why I’m here in the first place,” she said.

Learn more about WSU Ventures.