Meng Xu ‘16 Awarded New York Intellectual Property Law Association’s Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship

Meng Xu ‘16 came to St. John’s knowing that she wanted to merge her interests in science and the law to pursue a career as an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney. By the end of her first year, she had earned a strong academic record, including membership on the St. John’s Law Review. Adding to Meng’s impressive achievements, this month, Dean Michael A. Simons awarded her the New York Intellectual Property Law Association’s (NYIPLA) Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship.

Each year, NYIPLA selects one law school from a pool of applicants to receive this $10,000 scholarship. The law school then awards the scholarship to one of its students on the recommendation of its IP faculty and based on the following criteria:

Expressed interest in pursuing a career in intellectual property law
Status as a minority student who represents a group that has been traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession
Academic eligibility adhering to the law school’s standard internal merit-based scholarship requirements

“Meng brings a wealth of experience in scientific research and analysis as well as great enthusiasm for the law to her career path in the IP field,” Dean Simons said. “Couple this with her personal history of immigration to the U.S. at age 19 and her success as a bilingual student, and she is an outstanding choice for NYIPLA’s Diversity Scholarship. St. John’s is proud to be the scholarship recipient for the third consecutive year, and I’m grateful to the NYIPLA and the scholarship selection committee for their recognition and generosity.”

Law School Communications Director Lori Herz talked with Meng about this special honor and opportunity:

You have a Ph.D. in Pharmacy from the University of Georgia and have worked as a research scientist. What brought you to law school as a next step?
Throughout my graduate studies and the years at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I worked on a variety of projects, including studying the pharmacokinetics of antiviral drugs and tobacco biomarker studies. I have also published many scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and have presented my work at many international meetings. Since I enjoy scientific research and writing, I thought it would be interesting to go to law school to study the legal issues behind scientific research.

Why did you choose St. John’s?
Before applying to law school, I searched on the Internet and found that there are many successful St. John's alumni practicing IP law in the New York area. Also, I fell in love with St. John's when I visited the law school during the admitted students event and I found that the faculty, staff and students were very friendly and helpful. I feel very grateful that I was offered the St Thomas More Scholarship to attend the law school.
How has St. John’s fostered your interest in IP Law and why does this practice area interest you?
I am very interested in practicing IP law because it is a great way to utilize my scientific background. As a research scientist, we have to focus on just a small area. As a patent attorney, on the other hand, we are exposed to cutting-edge science even before it goes public. St. John's has definitely helped me a lot in achieving this goal. Professor Jeremy Sheff and Professor Eva Subotnik have given me valuable advice about my course work and career path. Further, Dean Simons and the Career Development Office have helped me contact many alumni who are practicing IP law at prestigious firms. I am very excited to take a variety of IP classes in the coming year.
You are fluent in Chinese. Do you think that being bilingual will help you on your career path to IP practice?
I think so. There are many Chinese companies interested in applying for U.S. patents and there are also many U.S. companies interested in applying for Chinese patents. It is very helpful to know the language in order to communicate well with clients. For example, I am currently working as a summer associate in an IP law firm, and I am helping a partner to translate some documents into Chinese for his Chinese clients.
NYIPLA presents the Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship to “a minority student who represents a group that has been traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.” What do you carry forward from this particular acknowledgement and honor?
When I was working as a research scientist, there were not many Asian scientists in the field. After I started law school, I found that there were even fewer Asian lawyers in the legal field. I feel very grateful to be the recipient of the Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship. I would like to encourage more Asian students to practice IP law, and I believe that we can overcome the language and cultural barriers and become successful lawyers in the future.

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