Students: Reflections on My Writing for OTT

How did you first hear about OTT?

I first learned about OTT when I heard about the student writing position through an email sent to Emory English majors. Although I’m a humanities major, I’ve always had an interest in the sciences, so I was curious to hear how I could use the skills I’d developed within that area.

What did you expect your job would be like? How did it differ from these expectations?

Going in, I think I imagined my job would be something along the lines of writing news blasts or editing announcements. I never imagined that I would actually be speaking with top researchers about their latest discoveries. That sort of opportunity isn’t typically available for undergrads.

What was a typical assignment like for you?

The thing I enjoyed about my work is that there really was no typical assignment. Editing, researching, writing – I really had the chance to do it all. Last year, my big project was researching for OTT’s Start-Ups section on the website – during the fall of 2014 into the spring, I worked to find and organize resources for inventors looking to commercialize their technology, finding all the resources available. This year marked OTT’s 30th anniversary, so I worked a lot in helping to organize the interview quotes used in OTT30 blog posts.  I also had the opportunity to write some of the featured innovations for the website. These usually involved preliminary research to familiarize myself with the invention, speaking with the case manager, and interviewing the inventor.

What was one of your favorite assignments?

I really liked working on the Free/Low Cost Technology featured innovation. These inventions were very philanthropic in nature, so it felt good to be a part of getting the word out about them.

What did you learn from working at OTT? What is one skill you feel you can transfer to other areas of your work?

I’d always been told that an English degree would allow me to hone my communication skills in any field.  Before I began working at OTT, my only experience in applying my writing was in the context of my literature courses. Working as a writer for OTT gave me the confidence in my ability to jump in and write about any subject and the experience of really learning how to ask the right questions so that I could help others understand OTT’s work as well.

How has your understanding of tech transfer changed?

Before working at OTT, I basically had no understanding of tech transfer at all, actually. I think my understanding was something along the lines of “Inventor invents something…and then boom! It’s out and accessible and on the market.” Now I know that the “…” space – that’s where technology transfer comes into play, bridging the gap between the science and business communities.

Why is it important for an Office of Tech Transfer to have a social media presence?

Everyone is online now, so one of the best ways to get both the university and its technologies out in the public eye is to use the Internet. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Blog Posts, all of these formats allow the public to get a better understanding of what our technologies and our office does.

How do you hope to leave a legacy at OTT?

My hope has been to get the word about OTT out to students. I know several future scientists within my class at Emory who really aren’t that familiar with the concept of Tech Transfer, and as future researchers, that gap really does need to be filled! I also have been trying to connect other non-science majors with the office in hopes of allowing them to have access to the same opportunity I did.

– Giselle Bartolo