Marcie Clarke '99

Marcie Clarke

Marcie B. Clarke, J.D., Ph.D. lives in Boston, Massachusetts where she works at McCarter & English as a Partner and Biotech/Life Sciences Patent Attorney.

Upon completion of the TAMS program in 1999, Dr. Clarke earned a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 2001, a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2005, and a J.D. in Intellectual Property Law Concentration from Suffolk University Law School in 2010.

What brought you to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS)?

I was drawn to TAMS for the academic challenge and the opportunity to meet other people similar to me.

What did you enjoy most about TAMS?

The best part of TAMS was the community of like-minded people.  Although there is a lot of focus on academics at TAMS, I would say that one of the things that changed my outlook the most was being around a group of people who accepted you for who you were.  It didn't matter if you were one of the kids playing pool or one of the kids who was into computer programming; everyone was on the same team.

How did your experience at the University of North Texas (UNT) and TAMS shape your career path?

I would not be the person I am today without TAMS.  Being at TAMS gave me the confidence to succeed throughout life, both professionally and personally.

What was the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – that you learned at UNT and TAMS?

Never give up!

If you earned a bachelor’s degree, what did you do in the year immediately after graduation?

After graduating TAMS, I went directly to UT Austin to work on my bachelor's degree.

Please share a memorable moment or experience from your time at UNT and TAMS.

My favorite experience at TAMS was spending a summer at sea with the Texas A&M Marine Corps.  Five TAMSters traveled on a marine research vessel through the Panama Canal, down to Chile, and back.  We visited many places along the way, including the Galapagos Islands.  I clearly remember the five of us TAMSters standing on the Galapagos beach at sunset, watching the sea lions and iguanas play in the water, and thinking that I would never have had this experience without TAMS.

How would you describe UNT, TAMS, and Denton?

UNT was a fantastic place for TAMS.  The UNT campus is small enough so that it doesn't feel overwhelming, but it is large enough that it provides you with classes, art, and cultural opportunities that don't exist at other universities.

If you could go back and do it all again, would you still attend TAMS? What would you do differently, if anything, during your time as a student?

I would absolutely attend TAMS if I had the opportunity to do it again!  I think the only thing that I would change would be to be more calm and less stressed about grades and college decisions.  Life always works out in the end!

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

I was recently promoted to partner as a life sciences/biotech patent attorney at McCarter & English. 

Did you pursue any other career paths prior to your current occupation? If so, please describe your occupational history.

My love of science initially led me to earning a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology.  I wasn't sure what to do next; however, after doing a lot of research, I ended up attending law school at night and working as a patent agent during the day.  I'm currently a partner and patent attorney at McCarter & English, a law firm in Boston.  Biotech/life sciences patent law allows me to pursue my love for science while being on the forefront of new and exciting inventions and technologies.  Patent law also allows me to interact with some of the most amazing scientists in the world and to learn about many different areas of science on a daily basis.

What advice/insight do you have for TAMS alumni and students interested in your field?

Never give up!  Failures are learning experiences, not road blocks.  You never know what a failure might teach you, or how it might change the direction of your path.