“The USPTO is one of the best places I’ve ever worked. It’s much different than a Navy warship for sure, but the projects and the independence I get as a trusted professional have all been engaging and interesting.”
A world-class career that’s close to home
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, are close to home for Julianne, who is a Stafford, Virginia, native. Although her current role as a USPTO Public Affairs Specialist has once again brought her near to her hometown, her career experience prior to joining the USPTO in 2017 took her on worldwide travels by sea.
At age 17, Julianne enlisted in the United States Navy as a Photographer’s Mate, leading her to begin a 13-year career of military service, similar to her father who is a retired Navy veteran. Those years included serving aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), in the White House Communications Agency, and even serving at the Pentagon as personal staff to the Chief of Naval Operations.
During the course of her service, she attended a basic photography course as well as the advanced videography course at the Defense Information School (DINFOS). In 2014, she obtained ain B.A. in Communications and Journalism, and in 2018 earned her M.S. in Management and Public Affairs, both from the University of Maryland University College.
“I finished my master’s degree while working at the USPTO, and I attribute that to the flexible work-life balance,” Julianne notes. Work-life balance is one of the things that Julianne appreciates most about working at the agency, and she describes it as simply “amazing.”
Similarities between the Navy and USPTO
The nature of Julianne’s work in the Navy is mirrored at USPTO via the same task-tackling strategies that can be applied to handle any assignment that comes her way. “Working at the USPTO is similar to serving in the Navy because both require a high degree of attention to detail,” Julianne comments.
Connecting with other veterans who selected a civilian career at the USPTO also helped Julianne transition to the agency with confidence and comfort. She chatted with a fellow veteran, now colleague, about the office culture. “I was able to get the lay of the land from someone who thought like me,” says Julianne. “It went a long way in getting me settled in my role.”
Once onboard, she also connected with civilian coworkers, who valued her unique career path. “The civilians I work with have been very open to hearing my experiences and applying those experiences to improve processes,” Julianne notes.
Big picture impact
Why did Julianne decide to join the USPTO? “Technology is the future,” she says, “[so] I wanted to work somewhere that had a clear, productive mission to serve, but through the lens of science.”
America’s Innovation Agency was the right fit for those goals. Julianne’s business unit, the Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO), gets to regularly participate in exciting annual events that relate to those themes, such as the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) induction event, or South by Southwest (SXSW).
Other career accomplishments such as helping to plan events for historic milestones for the agency like Patent 10 Million also stand out to Julianne. “Seeing how patented technology is truly changing the world helps us remember the big picture impact about our job,” says Julianne.
Yet with all these opportunities, Julianne’s favorite part of her job is still the people she works with. She describes her team as “engaged” and “passionate” people who are “good at what they do and committed to making it better.”
“The USPTO is one of the best places I’ve ever worked,” Julianne concludes. “It’s much different than a Navy warship for sure, but the projects and the independence I get as a trusted professional have all been engaging and interesting.”