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Mentoring for Success: An Interview with a Rising Star

With over two decades of experience in patent litigation, I ventured out to begin my new

consulting business Virtual Patent Gateway, LLC (“VPG”), which provides expert paralegal

support services for patent professionals. I have a travel bug, and I thought I would start my business with ample time to travel to new destinations. What I did not anticipate was a global pandemic and that most professionals across the globe would be working remotely with limited travel options.

Graphic about mentoring

VPG is doing well, and I have been fortunate to have wonderful clients and a strong base of support. While I am grateful for the opportunity, I also want to find ways to pay it forward. The pandemic has left many people unsure about their future, especially graduating seniors from our local high school. With that in mind, VPG has hired Stephanie Grover—its first intern in the company’s 2020 paid summer internship program!

Stephanie Grover graduating

Stephanie recently graduated from Rock Ridge High School. Stephanie is a talented graduate with primary responsibility assisting VPG in the areas of technology, software and social media research projects. VPG and Stephanie have both taken this opportunity to refine professional experiences in the new virtual office setting. This interview between VPG and summer intern Stephanie Grover is presented in a question and answer format.

VPG: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you agreed to participate in VPG’s

2020 summer internship program?

Stephanie: Of course. My name is Stephanie Grover, and I graduated with Honors from Rock Ridge High School located in Ashburn, Virginia just this year. I am going to be a freshman at Virginia Tech beginning this fall semester. I’m currently enrolled in the General Engineering program, but I also plan to major in Computer Science and minor in Art. I’m very interested in technology, and I enjoy learning more about it. I have a strong passion for art and music as well.

When VPG approached me about doing a one month paid internship, I thought it would be a really good idea. I was looking to gain some office experience in a collaborative work

environment, although most of my meetings have been online via Zoom, as well as learn more about databases and do some “hands-on” work with technology.

VPG: How has the pandemic changed your view and outlook about the future as a graduating senior and your perception of your coming place in the workforce? Did this internship change your view about the workforce? If so, how?

Stephanie: Well the pandemic has really made me wonder if we will ever go back to inperson meetings. I’m grateful that it happened when it did, after I was set to graduate high school and had already been accepted into my university of choice. It’s been a lot more stressful for my junior friends. I think that this internship has really shown me how much work can be done online, and how to effectively communicate with colleagues online, which I suspect will be useful in the upcoming year. I’m used to working online with school classes, but it’s a different environment in the workplace.

VPG: What did you expect to gain from the internship, and were your expectations realized?

Stephanie: Going in, I was looking for experience in an office setting, and I was eager to

learn more about database technology as it applies to supporting work functions. I was able to advise VPG on useful database programs such as Airtable and provide relevant support in this area. I also thought that this internship was also a good way to get work experience during a time when going out to work with others may be dangerous. Although working remotely differs in the execution of projects, I’ve still gained relevant experience in the areas of research, collaboration and communication, which are all key to a successful work experience. Further, I have been able to hone my current software skill set. For example, I’d never really worked as closely with Microsoft office before now, so that is a benefit that may carry rewards into my first year at Virginia Tech and beyond.

With Stephanie starting her academic career at Virginia Tech in the fall, VPG wishes her and the young professionals across the world much success during this uncertain time!

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