Domenica Hartman of Hartman Global Intellectual Property Law gave a talk this November at Purdue West Lafayette for the Women in Engineering Seminar, something she has done for the last twenty years. Engineering is a field that has been lacking female participants for some years, which is why encouragement and enticement are so vital to seeing the field level out on a more equal footing. In 2012, just under 20 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in engineering were for women, which includes a vast array of areas within the field, whether chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, or software to name a few.
The Society of Women Engineers mission is, “To empower and support women through innovative programs that provide technical and leadership experience in open and encouraging environments. Since 1954, PSWE has been dedicated to motivating young women to attain the highest levels of education and career advancement.” Founded in 1950, the Purdue SWE is the oldest continuously chartered SWE section in the country and has carried that dedication to generations of women in engineering.
This mission was championed in Hartman’s talk, and at the heart of the lecture was the message that “Engineering is Awesome.” Engineering can sometimes fall into the mold of being niche or too difficult, but the emphasis Hartman placed was on the universally applicable skills it imparts. It can include the more mechanical side of the occupation that often comes to mind, but also includes a much wider world that can appeal to anyone interested in engineering. Some might enter into engineering uncertain of the career path they might follow, but taking one which requires a diverse set of skills from the mathematical to the creative sets them up well for the wide variety of available careers in the post-college world.
Something else that was highlighted by Hartman was the passion that is required to take on this field, and how it can lead to success. Stressed alongside the importance of valuing oneself, one’s time and interests, which can sound like a selfish notion, but it is in the interest of the individual and the prospective employer to be certain that they are dedicated to their employment and where they are going in the future. Spending too much time on goals that don’t lead to that outcome can be a hindrance to the ultimate outcome of a fulfilling career.
The ideas of intellectual property law might seem removed from the subject of engineering, but when patent holders like Northwest Indiana local Urschel Laboratories have their engineers working on a new machine to more efficiently process food, being able to efficiently claim that intellectual property can make an abundant difference in the industry. This can extend to the most globally known and renowned companies like Apple and Google who are constantly changing, revising, and updating designs on phones and applications.
In creating the materials and products in the field of engineering, knowing where these things fall in the field of intellectual property can be vital to ensuring that they are valued and protected properly. Whether they fall under the category of patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets, Hartman brought to bear the years of professional expertise that have marked her career in Intellectual Property Law, and which can aid any prospective engineer looking to make her mark on the world of engineering.