New Series Introduces Science Majors to Various Careers Paths

The program highlights alumni in patent law, environmental science and library science.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dr. William Slaven ’93 still remembers how Dr. Richard Beach, professor emeritus of Chemistry, would hand each of his students an index card with a description of a chemical composition or a photo, and say “Go make this.” Slaven and his classmates would then head to the stacks of the Moore Library to find answers.

“The professors that I had at Rider, including Dick Beach and John Sheats, showed me how to apply things in a fundamental way,” said Slaven, who received a degree in Biochemistry major.

After graduating from Rider, Slaven worked as a chemist with the Johnson Matthey Biomedical Products Group, but didn’t remain for long. In fact, after receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Tulane University, Slaven did not return to the research lab at all. Instead, he continued his studies at the College of William and Mary School of Law. While studying Patent Law and Intellectual Property, he interned at the Office of Patent Counsel at the NASA Langley Research Center. Today, Slaven is a counsel for Kenealy Vaidya LLP, a law firm based in Alexandria, Va., that delivers intellectual property legal services for organizations in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Slaven visited the Lawrenceville campus on February 11, and shared his experiences and career insights with students studying science and prelaw. It was all part of a new series entitled “I was a Rider freshman and now I am a …”

“I started the series to provide science majors with insights into science career possibilities beyond the bench, classroom or hospital,” said Dr. Laura Hyatt, assistant dean for Sciences. “It also gives a chance for our Science Affinity Group members to directly contribute to current students.”

Slaven has been involved in several patent litigations before the Federal District Courts, the United States International Trade Commission and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Though he is no longer in a classroom or research lab, Slaven said his background in science and his passion for writing come in handy.

“There’s a precision about it that science offers. That’s why science folks usually excel in law school,” he said. “When crafting a legal argument you have to be precise and accurate. You also have to have the ability to write well and synthesize information.”

The series, “I was a Rider freshman and now I am a …”, will continue on Friday, March 4, when Wright Seneres ’97, shares his experiences as an environmental consultant. Seneres, who received a degree in Biology, works for Bach Associates, PC, in Haddon Heights, N.J. He is a member of the Alumni Association Board and the Rider Alumni Volunteers for Enrollment.

On Friday, April 22, Dr. Susan Vazakas ’78, who received a degree in English from Rider and is a Science and Engineering Librarian at Johns Hopkins University, will talk about her career.

All sessions will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching & Learning, Rooms 310-311.

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