When she started college in her native Florida, Gabi Zapata was very interested in the workings of the human mind. She eventually decided to major in Neuroscience and Behavior, and set her sights on a career in medicine. But, as she pursued her undergraduate degree and gained experience in the field, Zapata found that it was the technology behind the scientific and medical advances she studied that really fascinated her.
“The more I learned, the more I wanted to know what motivated and enabled people to be curious, invent, and move science and medicine forward,” she says. “There’s always a drive to create that next big thing, whether it’s a pharmaceutical, a new video game, or a machine that codes the genome. I saw that Intellectual Property Law, and Patent Law in particular, facilitate this kind of innovation, and that was something I wanted to be a part of.”
With this goal in mind, Zapata applied to St. John’s Law, drawn to the IP offerings coordinated by its Intellectual Property Law Center (IPLC). Directed by Professor Jeremy Sheff, who teaches and writes in trademark and patent law, and Professor Eva E. Subotnik, whose scholarship and research focus on issues of artistic intent that arise in the realm of copyright law and policy, the IPLC offers a unique forum for research, education, and professional development relating to the legal and policy issues of the knowledge economy. A range of courses, co-curricular offerings, programs, and activities give students interested in IP Law a well-defined pathway to follow.
The IPLC is also home to the Intellectual Property Honors Program, which Zapata is participating in as St. John’s newest IP Honors Scholar. In addition to receiving an annual tuition stipend of $10,000 to fund her studies, she will benefit from individualized career development support and special opportunities to engage in academic endeavors related to her field of interest.
“Being an IP Honors Scholar is something I’m very proud of and excited for,” Zapata says. “I look forward to learning about the legal system that gives creators the freedom to venture out and focus on developing new inventions that everyone can benefit from. I’m interested in many different areas of IP law, and this program will allow me to learn about all of them, in addition to the areas I’m already interested in: entertainment law and patent litigation.”
With the special attention that Zapata and her fellow IP Honors Scholars receive from faculty and career development counselors, and with support from the IPLC and the St. John’s Law community, they are well on their way to becoming successful attorneys in the growing field of Intellectual Property Law.Class of 2019 IP Honors Scholars
Class of 2020/1 IP Honors Scholars
To learn more about the St. John's Intellectual Property Law Center and its curriuclum, programs, and initatives, please visit the IPLC website.