UNM Rainforest Innovations

Our featured intern this month is Hannah Smith, the Student Intellectual Property Assistant for UNM Rainforest Innovations. In May, Hannah graduated summa cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in architecture and is now pursuing a master’s degree in project management at UNM’s Anderson School of Management. “I plan to work as a construction project manager, so that I put the skills I learned in architecture school to good use.”

As the Student Intellectual Property Assistant, Hannah is tasked with numerous responsibilities related to intellectual property management and protection. “Some of my responsibilities include contacting inventors and scheduling meetings to complete paperwork, organizing and sending documents to the attorneys that we work with, entering new patent filings into the system, and collecting cited references to file in the USPTO. I enjoy the organizational aspect of my job and getting to see all the different types of inventions and corresponding with many different inventors makes it fun and interesting.”

When asked, what were some of the most valuable things she had learned so far, she replied: “I was very impressed with how polished the tech transfer and patenting process is here at UNMRI. Working with so many different inventors, in different departments and on different campuses is a complex process, and the staff here really work to their own strengths to facilitate things going smoothly. Collaboration between people with different expertise is also what propels a lot of our inventions. UNM and Rainforest Innovations have both created environments where diverse knowledge is cultivated and celebrated.”

Hannah learned about the internship through fellow classmate, and UNMRI’s Accounting Coordinator, Rebecca Tresise. “(She) is one of the best people I could have ever asked to be by my side as we went through architecture school. She suggested the IP Assistant role to me, because I used to be a counselor at Camp Invention, where I taught elementary school kids how the invention and patenting process works. I am very interested in the real-world application of the things I taught there.”

When Hannah isn’t busy with school or work, she enjoys several hobbies. “In my free time I do ceramic art, I cook, I read, and I play video games. I’m just now getting back into doing ceramics after a couple of years where I was really focused on school, but I have previously done a lot of functional ceramic work and have won several awards from art shows in the Albuquerque metro.” 

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