Student: My Experience Writing for OTT

I came across the listing for a Marketing & Communications Intern at the OTT on Handshake during the first weeks of my senior year at Emory. Before I read over the requirements for the job, I had never heard of OTT or even tech transfer. I always assumed that the fully realized technologies the school advertised were a natural extension of research and produced by faculty by their own volition. Clearly, I had no clue about the complexities of patents, intellectual property, licensing agreements, FDA approval, etc. Though I had a very limited background in biomedicine, the journalistic aspect of the job drew me in, and I was ecstatic when I was brought on board.

A whole year later, I can definitively say that working in OTT was one of my most worthwhile experiences at Emory. I’ve learned so much during my tenure, not only about medical technologies, chemistry, biology, and computer software, but also writing, editing, journalism, and science communication. What I found at OTT was an office full of deeply committed people who were always willing to talk about their work. Some of the most insightful feedback I’ve gotten on my writing has come from members of the OTT, like my supervisor Linda and the case managers, who set me up for my interviews with researchers. It was fascinating to see all the professional and academic backgrounds of people who pass through the office, whether it was chemistry PhDs or former lawyers and MBAs. If Emory is internationally renowned for its contributions to society and the medical field in particular, it is due in no small part to the efforts of each member of this team.

Every assignment I had for the OTT was a delight, an excuse to learn about some new topic I would never approach otherwise. Whether I was writing Featured Innovation pieces or blog posts on the inner workings of startups, I always felt like I was enriching myself. I loved talking to researchers and faculty, who were always wonderful and kind. As the year went on, I loved the opportunities I had to pitch and develop my own articles. Experiences like these have pushed me as a writer and I can truly say I’ve developed journalistic experience. It is a blessing to leave with such a varied portfolio of published work.

Whenever someone talks about the stature of Emory or the erudition of its faculty, the staff of OTT deserves to be mentioned in the same breath, as they have truly elevated the profession beyond the transactional. There is no Emory without OTT – it is a living core of the university.

— Kim Lee Miller

Students: OTT a Hidden Gem

Like many of my fellow student writers, I essentially stumbled into my job with Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). After spending the summer of 2015 working for Emory Medicine Magazine, I was eager to continue to improve my writing skills through a part time job with the University. Mary Loftus, my editor at Emory Medicine Magazine, suggested that I apply to work with OTT. I was subsequently luck enough to be hired by OTT, despite my lack of knowledge regarding the profession of technology transfer and the offices role at Emory. But, boy did I learn fast.

Emory OTT is a hidden gem in Emory’s crown. When people think of this University they have all heard of its prestige in the field of medicine, particularly its role in combatting infectious diseases like the Zika virus and HIV. However, what people are less aware of is that Emory OTT was and continues to be a primary driver in finding opportunities for early innovation that can lead to the therapies and medications that are responsible for treating millions of patients worldwide.

Writing for OTT has given me a front row seat to the process of evaluating, patenting, and commercializing the many inventions created by Emory Researchers. I have had the pleasure of interviewing internationally recognized scientists and doctors, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields. These individuals are so passionate about their work and pride themselves on pushing the boundaries of what is possible in medicine and in other scientific fields. They see the world for what it could be and not what it is.

Emory OTT has allowed me to not only expand my knowledge on a range of fascinating scientific fields, but also taught me more about the innovative process itself. When a product reaches the market, people are often unaware of the lengthy process that the product had to undergo to get there. It takes grit, determination, faith, hard work, and often luck for the inventors, the OTT family, and the licensee to see a finished product on the market. However, time and again I have watched them pursue this goal in hopes of bettering the world. The spirit of innovation is certainly alive at Emory University and I know that OTT will continue to foster, support, and galvanize this spirit for years to come.

–  Aspen Ono

Students: Experiences in the Creative Hub of Campus

When my friend first suggested I apply to work at the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), I had no idea what the office actually did. I applied in September of 2015, and now I cannot imagine how campus could possibly function without OTT; I see connections to the office across all areas of campus. I first began my job by learning about the role of technology transfer in a university setting; as I began to understand the various steps of the tech transfer process, I became more and more amazed by how much behind the scenes work goes on to bring technologies to market. Tech transfer has made nearly every product I used possible, yet I had never thought about its importance before. While it is easy to imagine life without the newest app, tech transfer is also responsible for numerous life-saving drugs. The amazing innovative solutions developed on this campus astounds me everyday.

My favorite aspect of working as an assistant writer at OTT has been meeting the incredible, creative minds responsible for these technologies across numerous sectors of campus. I’ve had the chance to learn about the newest technologies, how they work, and then discuss those innovations with the individuals who developed them. While I am no expert when it comes to cloud-based medical imaging or a rare form of acquired hemophilia, I had the opportunity to challenge myself and gain an understanding of a wide variety of topics. I was continually impressed with the patience of the inventors who I spoke with; they would always take time to explain their technologies and help me understand the context of their innovation.

Beyond the innovations, every inventor is a highly accomplished expert in his or her field. In my experience, these are the people who are highly dedicated to what they do and absolutely in love with what they do. Through learning about their experiences and what drives them, I learned more about myself and where I want to be in the future. My experience at OTT broadened my interest in technology, allowed me to meet inspiring individuals from across campus, and has helped inform the career I plan to pursue for the future.

– Hannah Heitz