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Well-rounded engineer sets his sights on Harvard Law after graduation

On May 7, the College of Engineering welcomed more than 1,600 Buckeye engineers and architects into the alumni family. Finding the intersection of engineering, business and law, one Buckeye engineer has found a way to incorporate all of his passions while building his career path. Brian Kulp, a chemical and biomolecular engineering major, is winding down his undergraduate career and taking his technical knowledge to one of the top law schools in the country: Harvard Law School.

His dual interest in engineering and business led Kulp to Ohio State to be a part of the pilot class of the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program. While participating in interdisciplinary courses and extracurricular activities, he discovered a new passion to pursue a career in intellectual property law.

“I kept noticing that I would be running into legal issues wherever we went, so I started getting really excited about intellectual property and the minutia that entails,” said Kulp. “I started looking at law school about a year and a half ago and ate it up.”

After his first year at Ohio State, Kulp was able to gain experience as a clinical research intern at Prosoft Software near his hometown in Pennsylvania. His involvement with the research gave him an up-close look at how law can impact technical research.

“What I did had to do with FDA compliance and with patent law,” said Kulp. “I realized that legal issues are always a factor during these technical processes and in trying to get everything regulated.”

Getting involved on campus also helped secure Kulp’s career ambitions, validating and affirming that he was on the right path. Currently he serves as president for both the Science and Engineering Business Club and the STEM Pre-Law Society, the latter of which Kulp founded himself.

The Science and Engineering Business Club sparked an interest in consulting, while the STEM Pre-Law Society allowed Kulp to share the impact of legal processes with fellow engineering majors. Involvement on campus helped Kulp gain valuable experience beyond what is taught in the classroom.

“Being able to get involved and seeing what things are like in the real world prepared me really well for my internships with ExxonMobil,” he said. “I was able to hit the ground running with programs such as CHEMCAD and leverage my experience to get in with Exxon Mobile. It wasn’t just being able to do math problems, it was being able to use the software from day one.”

While working with ExxonMobil for two summers, Kulp was involved with process design and supply chain work, seeing how concepts learned in class applied to real-life situations. Again, his experience led him back to the relationship between the technical world and law.

“We were running into environmental regulations, there were some patent and legal issues that were being discussed,” he said. “I met with some of the in-house lawyers and they told me about some of the technologies and how they were working to implement them.”

After graduating from Harvard, Kulp plans to open up his own technical consulting firm, utilizing his knowledge of patent law and extensive technical skills to help others achieve success, while fusing his enthusiasm for engineering, business and law together. 

by Emily Lehmkuhl, College of Engineering student communications assistant