UTRF 2021-2022 Interns (l-r) Sarah Beth Cain, Meghan Alderson, and Alex Gambino

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation’s Commercialization Analyst Program offers UT law students, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers an inside look at the commercialization process for UT inventions. Last year, the program went virtual due to COVID-19, but earlier this summer, UTRF was thrilled to welcome three new interns back to the Multi-Campus Office in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Meghan Alderson, Alex Gambino and Sarah Beth Cain are rising second-year students in UT’s College of Law. They applied for UTRF’s internship program out of an interest in intellectual property (IP) law and desire to explore a potential career path. The unique nature of UTRF’s internship program allows students like Alderson, Gambino and Cain to get hands-on experience with key commercialization efforts – from performing patentability analyses to conducting outreach to potential industry partners.

Alderson, a Maryland native, received her Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina prior to arriving at UT. Cain, originally from outside of Nashville, received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from UT. She later graduated with her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University. Gambino has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University and a minor in Business Administration.

“I’m really interested in doing IP law and want to stay in Knoxville once I graduate,” said Gambino. “I liked that the program offered insight into commercialization and business since I am interested in combining law and business as a career.”

Without prior experience in business and commercialization, Alderson and Cain are eager to explore a new field and help further UT technologies.

“I wanted to see whether or not the IP field would be something I’d to specialize in,” said Cain. “I knew the internship would allow opportunities to work with technologies and fields of science that I am unfamiliar with, so I thought it would be a great way to see if this is for me.”

Alderson agreed, explaining: “I applied for the internship because it combines my interest in research and growing interest in IP law. The program should be really helpful no matter what I decide to do down the line.”

Since their internship began in May 2021, Alderson, Gambino and Cain have spent time learning about UT inventors, various technologies and their roles in the commercialization process. So far, Cain remarked that it has been amazing to work with UTRF and witness their dedication to facilitating the development of new innovations from UT staff, faculty and students.

“We are so happy to invite Meghan, Alex and Sarah Beth to the UTRF team, especially now that the program is back in person,” said UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “UTRF’s Commercialization Analyst Program is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the commercialization process. Many of our previous interns have found great success, honing skills in the internship that benefit them professionally, regardless of their chosen career path.”