Katy Pellow joined the patent and trade mark attorney firm, Abel + Imray, as a trainee patent attorney, directly after the successful completion of her PhD.
Studying at the University of Bristol through the Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training, she developed transition metal catalysts which were used to upgrade bioethanol to biobutanol, providing a sustainable route to advanced biofuel production. Over the course of her PhD research, Katy gained a broad experience of synthetic chemistry, specialising in the areas of homogeneous catalysis and organometallic chemistry.
Katy has been member of the Royal Society of Chemistry for the past 11 years in which time she has become involved with many of the aspects of RSC membership.
“I joined when I was in my first year of my undergraduate degree. We had a talk from someone at the RSC and I remember signing up and getting my free pair of lab specs and they also gave us glow in the dark pens, which were great.”
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But it was the monthly magazine Chemistry World, accreditation of her degree and information on the jobs website that also gained her attention. Her membership involvement expanded during her PhD course to publishing articles in RSC journals and attending conferences, such as the Dalton conference that had an inorganic chemistry specialism.
Now in her third year as a trainee patent attorney, Katy has recently presented a webinar for the RSC. “More recently my involvement has been through my job. A colleague and I gave a talk on patents to the ChemCareers group and I’m delighted to say we had nearly 200 people attend.
“This development means that my contact with the RSC is more like a business partner relationship – which is quite interesting. I really enjoy being able to tell people about my career as a trainee patent attorney, and from a commercial point of view it is a good thing too.”
Attending the Chemistry Means Business event last year, she was impressed with the attendance from industry personnel and it is that involvement for industry she is keen to see more of alongside the RSC’s support for academia. “The event aims to connect people and ideas that are at the heart of cutting edge science and technology, and who are driving the advancement of chemistry for a better future,” this according to Katy, is a really good direction for the RSC.
A member of the law interest group where she gains useful networking opportunities and knowledge from presentations is a further membership benefit that she values.
My membership is really good value. I remember I even got a discount off a holiday cottage and cinema tickets. But the really big value of the RSC is that being a member is like a stamp of quality – one that is recognised by a wider audience that it has that quality.
Staying within patent law is key for Katy: “It’s really challenging; I have not been bored once. The best thing is getting to know your clients and their inventions and understanding how things work. You are using scientific arguments but in a legal context and it is that blend of science and law that brings the satisfaction. We’re scientists first, and lawyers second. I did enjoy research, but sometimes my experiments didn’t work, or I didn’t get that outcome I was hoping for, but the thing with this career is you have the same challenge, but each task can be completed – and that’s very satisfying.”