“Many people think that the only things to do with a science degree are to be a researcher or a practitioner, but there are lots of careers in the middle of that spectrum” says Beau Miller (Biochemistry and Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, ‘14). “I always saw myself as someone who would be good at taking great scientific ideas and helping them become reality, and that’s what I’m doing now.”
Miller works as a patent legal assistant at Minneapolis-based patent law firm Westman, Champlin & Koehler. In addition, he is studying at the University of Minnesota Law School for a master's degree in patent law, a program from which he’ll graduate in May 2015. Finding a career that’s such an excellent fit for his skills and interests was a long-term endeavor. “I did a lot of exploration in my undergraduate years, and I found I was really interested in work that applies research in a practical way,” he says. “Instead of treating people under currently accepted protocols and with existing technologies, I wanted to be a part of launching many new technologies that could make a big impact on improved outcomes.”
Miller’s CBS advisors helped him explore his options, and he took a career exploration class that was especially helpful. “I found out about alums working at breweries, as recruiters for scientists, and as business analysts and managers,” he says.
“I’m very grateful that CBS gave me strong foundation in the biological sciences,” Miller says. “I had a chance to participate in research and work alongside professors who are making scientific breakthroughs. And I know my critical thinking skills are far better having graduated from CBS. ‘Critical thinking’ is a phrase that gets thrown out a lot these days, but to me it means I’ve gained the skills of being able to analyze situations, think strategically and identify new ways to do things, all of which have helped immensely in my work in patent law. With the job I have now, I have the opportunity to be on the cusp of many new kinds of technology.”
Miller offers this advice to current and prospective students: “Be open to career opportunities. People sometimes focus on the title they want to have instead of what they actually want to do every day at work.”
— Julie Kendrick