Reflecting on My Internship with UNHInnovation

Monday, August 17, 2015


Mike Leriche

Having recently completed my Master’s Program in Justice Studies at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), I have had time to reflect on my current work and future goals. UNH’s website defines the goal of the Justice Studies program is as follows: To “provide a broad understanding of justice, crime, and law. It provides tools for reasoned appraisal of how the justice system works and what policies underlie it. The program familiarizes students with legal and justice ideas, justice institutions, and legal processes. It draws on a variety of disciplines, subjects, and research methodologies for its core knowledge.” This core knowledge of the justice system has been a resource in many aspects of my personal life and career, and has led me to paths that had otherwise been unseen.

My internship here at UNHInnovation (UNHI) has been one of those paths. A broad understanding of justice, rather than being limiting, has expanded my possibilities. Intellectual property and the creative spirit are not the first things that come to mind when one thinks of Justice Studies, but the two are intertwined. Intellectual property has a complex set of laws that aim to protect creativity while promoting public interest. This is similar to the role of justice in society; the role of protecting individual rights while promoting the public good.

This concept is reflected in the work I have done as a graduate student for UNHI. I have been able to help faculty with inventions, innovations, trademarks and copyrights. I have had a wide range of experiences: from performing trademark searches, to helping university faculty garner a deeper understanding of image licensing, to helping inventors commercialize the fruits of their labor. I have worked to help others with their creative fulfillment, and to protect those ideas which they have brought into the world.     

Intellectual property is personal to me. I love to play music and most days after work or school I can be found jamming on my guitar. One day I hope to create and share my music, to share experiences and resonate with others.  The experience I have gained from UNHI has given better insight to bring this dream to fruition. Additionally, I have been able to share these insights with my friends and cohorts to help them with their creative endeavors. This is important to me, as many artists do not understand intellectual property and do not know how to protect their creative works. But it extends beyond artists, to businessmen, inventors, dance choreographers, artisans, builders, and software engineers. Intellectual property, be it trademarks, patents, or copyrights, affects everyone.

That is why my plans for the future are twofold. Firstly, I aim to take the LSAT and I hope to attend law school next year. This will further my pursuit of law and intellectual property and will give me the tools to help others. Secondly, I will take the lessons learned from both my Master’s program and my internship and apply them to my personal life and career. I hope to create more music, potentially using my new knowledge about Creative Commons licenses to access a larger audience. I also hope to take the knowledge and experience I’ve gained and apply it to my career goals. Whether it be in IP law, music, business, or justice, the knowledge and experience I have gained will help me to succeed in whichever career I chose.

Mike Leriche, Graduate Intern