Marivelisse S.

Acting Director of the Office of Patent Workforce Management

"...STEM education begins at home. Parents should encourage girls to be interested in math, science, and engineering and schools should reinforce the importance of STEM for both boys and girls."

Tell us about your background and how you got to the USPTO?

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I’m the youngest of four children. My parents worked hard to provide for us and to make sure we received a good education.  In 2004, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Soon after graduation, I heard about the USPTO from a family friend and found out the Agency was hiring engineers. I decided to give it a shot and applied for a patent examiner position. I was interviewed, got an offer, and started my employment that October.

What do you do in your current role?

As Acting Director of the Office of Patent Workforce Management, I ensure consistency and coordination of workforce management-related efforts between the Patents organization and other business units. I also provide analytical, evaluative, and advisory support to management to accomplish USPTO’s and the Patents organization’s objectives.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

Without a doubt, helping others and seeing them succeed, and recognizing that even the smallest contribution matters towards achieving a collective goal. It brings me joy and, in essence, is part of my nature. Throughout my career, in all the roles I’ve had, the need and opportunity to help others is always present and crucial to what I do. Whether it is educating our stakeholders about intellectual property in my native Spanish language, coaching and mentoring examiners, providing advisory support and assistance to Patents executives — and everything else in between — there is no help too small.

What inspired you to enter a STEM field?

As a young girl, I always enjoyed technology, mathematics, and finding ways to solve problems. I still remember when my parents were able to afford our first family computer and how curious I was to find out what it could do. It made sense to me to have career where I could be involved in science and technology. At first, I wanted a computer engineering degree, but the university I applied for did not offer that option; they suggested electrical engineering — close enough, right? That’s what I did and here I am.

What do you think makes the USPTO unique and makes it a great STEM place to work?

The USPTO has one of the strongest inclusive cultures, in which diversity is encouraged and there is zero tolerance for discrimination. The USPTO also provides equality to both men and women in the workplace. The USPTO provides women with the same opportunities in hiring, promotion potential, and general career growth; not to mention the same pay grade scale. 

Are you involved in any groups or activities at the USPTO?

I’m an active member and past president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE-USPTO) affinity group. As a SHPE member, I have been instrumental in the mentoring, development, and training of new patent examiners from all backgrounds, helping them become successful patent examiners, while achieving the overall goals of the USPTO of increasing diversity within the USPTO community. In addition, I have volunteered for multiple programs involving STEM fields in the community.