Ashana Nandram was 18 years old when she moved from the small South American country of Guyana to the United States in search of a better life.
Joining her parents in Queens—New York City’s most diverse borough and home to St. John’s Law—Nandram, the youngest of six children, became the first in her family to attend college. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in Chemistry from Queens College, and went on to teach as an adjunct instructor and to work full time at SUNY Maritime College.
Nandram enrolled in the evening program at St. John’s Law in 2014. And, this summer, Dean Michael A. Simons presented her with the New York Intellectual Property Law Association's (NYIPLA) Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship.
Each year, the NYIPLA selects one law school to receive this $10,000 scholarship. The law school then awards it to one student on the IP faculty’s recommendation 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
This marks the sixth consecutive year that a St. John’s Law student has won the award, and Nandram is thrilled to be the 2017 recipient. “My path to law school began when a work colleague told me about Patent Law,” she says. “I did some research and I realized that it would be interesting to merge my science background with a law degree.”
St. John’s Law was a natural choice, Nandram shares, given the flexible schedule the evening program affords and the school’s close proximity to work and home. “I taught in the Chemistry Department at St. John’s University, so it was also very nice to return to campus as a student,” she adds.
As she pursues a career as a patent attorney, Nandram has enjoyed her Introduction to Intellectual Property and Copyright Law courses with Professor Eva E. Subotnik and she looks forward to taking Patent Law in the spring. “Science, technology, and medicine are at the forefront of our society,” Nandram says. “I believe that, for our society to progressively evolve, we need people who are willing to experiment, create, and discover in the name of the greater good. I hope to use my science background and my law degree to defend and protect individuals who want to make those meaningful contributions.”