Patent filings: where are the women?
Career series: Laura Schoppe, Fuentek
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Nichole Mercier heads one of the few US tech transfer offices that offers a programme encouraging women inventors into commercialisation. Speaking to WIPR, she outlines her career path to becoming managing director of the office of technology management at Washington University in St. Louis.
When I was finishing my PhD I knew that bench work wasn’t where my talents lie, so I was trying to figure out what I could do that fit my personality, skillset and strengths better.
I didn’t know that I was on the path to becoming director of a tech transfer office but that’s what happened. I found tech transfer during graduate school, working ten hours a week at the tech transfer office at the University of Massachusetts Medical School while pursuing my doctorate. My first position was at Boston Children’s Hospital after graduation, but when my husband finished his PhD 18 months later, we moved to St. Louis and I took a position in the tech transfer office at Washington University in St. Louis.
Having worked in the Boston ecosystem, it was interesting to head to a “growing” ecosystem and I eagerly tried to piece all the startup support groups together. I stayed at the tech transfer office for a few years before moving over to a business development role at a major St. Louis company. Unfortunately, the role wasn’t right for me and I had just had my first child. I knew that if I was going to be a working mother, I had to love my job, so I came back to Washington University and expanded my role in the office doing licensing work as well as leading the education efforts for faculty.
Nichole Mercier, Washington University in St. Louis, technology transfer, tech transfer, patent filings, career series, diversity