Maria Jimenez is working in Houston this summer and exploring her interest in intellectual property as a career focus. Wichita State’s Gateway to IP program helped her get started in the world of patent law.
More than 5,000 Shockers each year take what they’ve learned in the classroom and transfer that knowledge into real-world environments. Applied learning — which is required for every Wichita State student — happens in offices, factories, laboratories, nonprofits, industries and companies across the globe. Students work side-by-side with seasoned professionals to ensure that they’re fully prepared to make meaningful contributions to their employers and their communities when they graduate.
What is your job title, the company you work for, and your duties during your applied learning experience?
I am part of the summer internship program at Patterson and Sheridan LLP at the Houston office. As an intern, I work closely with registered patent attorneys, patent agents and technical advisors to develop my intellectual property knowledge base, through hands-on experience with IP matters.
How long do you expect to work in your current position?
Until July 1, 2022.
How did you learn about this opportunity?
I learned about this opportunity through my involvement in the Gateway to IP program at Wichita State. The director of the program, Rob Gerlach, connected me with the firm to learn more about the opportunity.
How is this experience helping you build your resume and prepare you for your career?
With this particular experience at Patterson and Sheridan’s intellectual property and technology law firm, I am able to recognize a new perspective on how my engineering degree can be applied to constitute innovation. Upon graduation next spring, I plan to take (and pass) the Patent Bar exam to kickstart my IP career as a patent practitioner. Through this summer internship, I am gaining firm experience as well as attaining valuable skills to prepare me for the road ahead.
How have your classes and experiences at Wichita State prepared you to succeed in this applied-learning opportunity?
During the fall semester of 2021, I joined the Gateway to IP program at Wichita State. Through the Gateway to IP program, I have been fortunate to have been mentored by and work alongside several different patent attorneys to obtain a basic understanding of patent law in the United States.
This program has helped me develop a foundational understanding of patent law to build upon during my summer internship. My engineering classes also played a crucial role in preparing me for this internship by providing me with the technical background necessary to better understand the underlying principles within the inventive concepts of IP.
What advice would you give other students who are looking for hands-on experiences in their major while they finish college?
WSU has a ton of resources that can help you find the experiences you are looking for, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your peers and WSU faculty and staff to assist you in the hunt.
Also, I would advocate for trying to diversify the industries you are seeking experience from, so that you are able to see different perspectives of how your degree can be applied and develop your preferences.