|It's no secret that internships play
a critical role in preparing for a career, and as a
chemical engineering student, Michael Dockins landed
enviable internship work at pharmaceutical leader Eli
Lilly & Company. However, it didn't lead to a great career
in chemical engineering, but steered him down
a completely different path.
At Lilly, Dockins wasn't interested
in following in the footstep of engineers who spent
several years working on a single project. Instead, he was
intrigued by networking opportunities with
Lilly's general legal counsel and patent attorneys.
So, he went to law school at the University
of Toledo after graduating in 2002. Patent attorneys are
required to have a scientific background, and his Rose-Hulman
background met that requirement easily. "It seemed like a
| Dockins was a whiz in law
school, graduating cum laude, serving as technical editor
on the law review, and getting published in a legal journal.
He passed the Ohio and Indiana bar exams, along with the
patent exam, and landed a job with the law firm Fraser Clemens
Martin & Miller near Toledo. He has processed more
than 125 patent applications in everything from alternative
energy to plastics to automotive components.
He also dove into the world of corporate
strategy by serving for a time as in-house counsel for First
Solar, a leading manufacturer of thin-film
photovoltaic devices. "Being on the cutting edge is
a cool place to be," he observes, but that also means
navigating through technology challenges which leaders face
more often than followers. Competition in alternative energy
is fierce and the playing field
|is anything but level, especially
with governments such as China's showering their home
teams with support.
Just as players in industry must keep
the whole world in mind, Dockins believes Rose-Hulman
needs to think strategically on a global scale and work hard
to get its name out more broadly. Rose-Hulman is widely
known within some engineering circles, but must spread that
recognition much farther, "to have a larger portion of
the population realize how great the school is."
Dockins does his part by, among
other things, representing Rose-Hulman at college fairs.
He's also been an advisory board member of the Phi Gamma
Delta fraternity's campus and
international organizations. And, like lots of his
peers who are a decade out of undergraduate studies,
"it's all family, all the time."