Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, shared her experience with the Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop. 

“My name is Bree Vculek and I currently work as a patent scientist at Davis Wright Tremaine. I am a fourth year, evening part-time law student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. My technical background is biology, chemistry and biotechnology. I’ve worked in that area in a variety of different sectors, most recently within the patent space, and I’m now working in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well.

I am excited to weigh in today. I’m going to start with how I found Harrity for Parity, and specifically how I found the Women’s Patent Workshop. So I attended the workshop last May of 2022. I came across it on my favorite social media platform, LinkedIn. Harrity & Harrity Partner Elaine Spector had made a LinkedIn post announcing the event. They were taking applications and I got super excited. I think I applied the same day, because I was just starting to work in patent law at a boutique firm. I had completed many of the patent law and all of the intellectual property law courses at the George Washington University Law School.  I was really excited and applied the same day, and was lucky enough to get accepted into the workshop.

I had an amazing experience. To be honest, I was reflecting a little bit, and even though I had started working in patent prosecution, and even though I attend a law school with a highly ranked intellectual property law program, I still felt that there were important pieces of the patent preparation and prosecution puzzle, if you will, that were missing in my comprehensive and holistic understanding of the practice. And so when I was thinking about my favorite part of the workshop, or really what my takeaways were, I had several.

I would say, first of all, I loved meeting so many of the other women who are at various stages of their careers, both in private practice and in-house, as well as at the USPTO, and getting their perspectives on what it’s like to be a woman in patent law. Also, to learn from them what works, what didn’t work, and what advice they have. I found that to be really a connective force. I think having this community, albeit virtual a lot of the time, is so incredibly important for minorities within a certain practice, such as patent law. So that was one thing that I really loved and enjoyed.

And second to that, I really liked that the workshop provided us with practical experience. We had the opportunity to draft claims and receive feedback, and to practice reading through and familiarizing ourselves with Office Actions from the USPTO and responding to 101, 102, 103, and 112 rejections, and just kind of understanding how it all works and different strategies. And so I really enjoyed that. I still, to this day, take a lot of those foundational skill sets that I learned in the Women’s Patent Workshop and apply them to my practice today, so that was really an incredible experience.

I also wanted to mention one additional thing – so I talked a little bit about community and conductivity and collaboration. I met a another student through Harrity for Parity, and we’ve developed a friendship. We saw each other a couple of months after the workshop actually, in-person at interviewing events, and have kept in touch thereafter. And ultimately, we are going to be working close by following graduation. So I think that was again just a really cool opportunity to make friends within the practice, make connections, and that was something that I didn’t necessarily expect but I really was was longing for. It was kind of like a cherry on top.”

Watch the video here:


We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply HERE.