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Meet junior Elena Carabeau, an ECL major and Spanish and Studio Arts double minor who recently began interning with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Carabeau was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (the most prestigious academic honors society in the United States) this year.

In Carabeau’s freshman year, her English 105 class’s final project centered on intellectual property which led her to intern for the USPTO:

“I knew nothing about it whatsoever, except that it was annoying when I wanted to find a book online and it was copyrighted. But the project opened my eyes to the intellectual property world and to its importance. Now I’m an Innovation Intern at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a position that I just happened to stumble upon online and applied to as sort of a long shot because I thought it sounded fascinating. Through the position, I’ll rotate through each business unit of the USPTO (right now I’m with the Office of the Chief Communications Officer) and help with their projects along with learning about the unit and its organizational goals.”

In speaking to how her English courses have prepared her for this internship, Carabeau said:

“English classes have taught me how to think. That sounds a little broad, and admittedly it is a sweeping statement, but I can honestly credit the ways my brain’s been stretched and challenged in the DOECL with how I operate within the world. In my internship, for example, I might do anything from editing a document to providing feedback to my supervisor to listening to a White House listening session on STEM education, and at every point I’m analyzing, synthesizing, and generally formulating narratives for many different audiences. That is, all day I’m writing and telling stories just like the ones I analyze on a daily basis. And what is anything–a job interview, an application, an argument, a conversation, an interview–but a story?”

Carabeau’s favorite courses with the DOECL include ENGL 57H (Future Perfect) and ENGL 861 (The Horror of Life) with Professor Matthew Taylor. Each of these courses she credits with introducing her to several fascinating fields of scholarship she hadn’t yet had experience with: “That’s what I love about the department: every course is sort of its own world of knowledge. I’ve never taken a class here that hasn’t added a dimension to how I think.”

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