The University of Tennessee Research Foundation recently welcomed five new interns across its two offices. The UTRF internship program offers unique, hands-on opportunities for students to explore new innovations coming from the UT System and gain an understanding of the commercialization process.

“We are so excited to welcome one of our biggest cohorts of interns yet,” said UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “We are proud to work closely with our interns to help them gain unparalleled experience in the field of tech transfer and prepare for careers that merge science with business development, entrepreneurship and law.”

Maxwell Schwam, UTRF’s new Legal Extern.

Maxwell Schwam is a second-year law student at the University of Memphis (UofM) and Legal Extern for UTRF. Originally from Germantown, Tennessee, Schwam holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from UofM and a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in biochemistry from Mississippi College, where he conducted three years of oncology research. He believes his research background helped prepare him the most for his position.

“While the research was very preliminary, the grueling process of going through the scientific method and quadruple-checking yourself helps create empathy for the inventors and scientists who have to go through that process,” said Schwam. “Part of my job, if I pursue patent law, will be to understand the inventions as well as the inventors.”

On Knoxville’s campus, UTRF welcomed four new Commercialization Analysts. Beau Groom, Maddie Rudge and Myles Roth started in May 2022, while Will Hunter began in January 2022.

A Nashville native, Hunter graduated with his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from UTK this past spring and will enter his master’s program in the same department this fall. After getting interested in tech transfer and patents earlier this year, he reached out to UTRF about potential part-time work and was excited to join the team.

“It sounded like a great opportunity to work in intellectual property and patents,” said Hunter. “I like getting to see technology in a different light than you might see in a pure research setting.”

Groom is a doctoral student in industrial engineering at UTK. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Groom completed his undergraduate degree in systems engineering and computer engineering from Azusa Pacific University.

“It’s amazing to not just see the research happen in the lab but help that research get to the market and have an impact on peoples’ lives,” said Groom. “It’s great to learn about technologies and fields that I would never have the chance to personally work on.”

UTRF’s newest Commercialization Analyst cohort. From left to right: Beau Groom, Maddie Rudge, Will Hunter and Myles Roth.

Rudge is a second-year law student at UTK, who graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. She is from a small town in West Virginia.

“It’s a great environment – I really like working here,” said Rudge. “For me, I spent my undergraduate degree studying science and looking at legal and ethical issues with scientific matters. It influenced me to go to law school, and now I am considering a career in patent law. Between learning how to do legal research my first year of law school and doing research for my undergraduate education, it’s become very easy to translate my previous experience into this job.”

Like Rudge, Roth is also a second-year law student at UTK. While he grew up in Florida, Roth spent many years in Colorado following his graduation from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He spent several years in pharmaceutical development before he arrived in Knoxville.

“UTRF put on a great presentation when they came to the law school one day. It sounded unique and interesting,” said Roth. “It’s exciting to be a part of some of the groundbreaking research across the university system and be able to learn about the depth and breadth of the cool things that some of our scientists and creators are working on.”