Marivelisse Santiago-Cordero

Supervisory Patent Examiner

"...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.

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.  

What do you enjoy most about working here?

As a SPE, I enjoy the opportunity to coach and mentor my examiners. It’s very rewarding to see your examiners succeed and producing a great quality work product.  Our success is a reflection of our responsibility to assure that the Technical Center and the agency succeed in meeting its goals.

The USPTO hires and retains women in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) at higher rates than the general workforce. What do you think makes the USPTO unique and makes it a best 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. 


What inspired you to enter a STEM field?

As a young girl, I’ve always loved technology and mathematics.  In school, my science and math teachers made those topics cool and interesting, so it got my attention.  We learned about Marie Curie, her discovery of two chemical elements, and that she was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize. I wanted to be her! I knew then that I wanted a career where I could be involved in science and technology. I chose electrical engineering as my major and it was the best decision I could’ve made.