Andrea Zydron Warmbier

Deputy Chief Counsel, NASA Langley Research Center

2005 | Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Biochemistry and Chemistry

“My extracurricular activities definitely helped me out. They allowed me to interact with a greater number of students and helped me become more invested in the law school.”

The intellectual property (IP) program and impressive faculty lured Andrea Warmbier from Virginia to MSU College of Law.

Now stationed at NASA Langley Research Center back in her home state, Warmbier credits her time at the Law College for cultivating the skills she uses every day at the Space Agency.

After double majoring in biochemistry and chemistry, Warmbier found patent law to be the perfect way to combine her interests in science and the law. She recommends that students interested in pursuing patent law take the patent bar examination during law school to get a competitive edge in today’s challenging job market.

As a patent attorney at NASA Langley Research Center, Warmbier is involved with many of the agency’s IP matters. She prepares and prosecutes patent applications, reviews software for release, and negotiates IP provisions for various agreements, including procurement contracts and Space Act agreements. She also prepares licensing and nondisclosure agreements and reviews journal and conference submissions by NASA engineers and scientists for underlying IP issues prior to publication.

Known for her positive attitude and efficiency, Warmbier notes that many important skills are honed through extracurricular activities. Warmbier was a member of Moot Court, served as the president of the Student Bar Association, and worked as a research assistant for her Contracts professor. These experiences not only were resume-boosters, but also enabled her to finesse her legal skills and business etiquette.

“My extracurricular activities definitely helped me out,” she says. “They allowed me to interact with a greater number of students and helped me become more invested in the law school.”

Her involvement with student organizations also strengthened her communication skills—one critical attribute that she says sets successful lawyers apart.

Warmbier also recommends that students use their time during law school to develop relationships with fellow students and maintain these contacts after graduation. A fellow student will likely become a referral source, a potential contact for a job opportunity, or a good person to call for advice on a legal matter. And for this 2005 graduate, one of her fellow students is more than just a professional contact— her husband, Mark, was in the same graduating class.