Jennifer Gordon '71, who began her school career here in kindergarten going on to graduate with the Class of 1971, spoke to a group of Upper School science students on November 14, 2011, sharing this secret: a passion for science can take you virtually anywhere. In Jennifer's case, it took her to MIT for college and graduate school, where she studied biology and and earned her PhD in biochemical engineering, and then brought her back to New York to work at a law firm specializing in patent law. Recruited by the firm while she was still in graduate school, her ability to understand, synthesize, and translate highly technical patent applications made her an obvious asset for the firm.
Once she had settled into life back in New York, she adopted a schedule not for the faint of heart. Working at the law firm by day, she attended law school by night, ultimately earning the law degree which fit in nicely next to the letters "PhD" that follow her name.
To successfully practice patent law, one needs to understand the patent process, the legal process, and the scientific process. Listening to Jennifer describe how these areas come together one almost had the feeling of effortlessness, but of course that is a result of her obvious intelligence, abilities, and strengths, as well as her stores of confidence.
The students and teachers who sat in on the Monday morning Scientific Research and Design class were clearly inspired by this charismatic member of the class of 1971. Despite (or possibly because of) the fact that she will be forever immortalized in her Berkeley Carroll yearbook as someone who "cannot bear Humanities," Jennifer is a great role model for the science students in the Upper School (and, in truth, that line was more a reference to the person who taught the [one] humanities class at the time. Jennifer loved her English teacher, Carol Locke, dearly. She not only opened Jennifer's eyes to literature, plays and poetry but she taught her how to write -- something one absolutely has to know how to do in any profession, but particularly law.)
Jennifer Gordon '71 started out working at the bench and now appears before the bench and is a testament to the fact that with a strong foundation in science, one can go anywhere.