Name: Michael Cherskov ‘80
Current Title: Intellectual Property Attorney
Current Employer: Cherskov & Flaynik
Web site: www.cherskov.com
What have you recently achieved in your career or life that you’re especially proud of:
I am proud of the continuing growth of our practice, Cherskov & Flaynik and of the good people we’ve been able to hire. We just won a major settlement award in a copyright litigation action for one of our clients. On a personal note, I’m working toward my IFR (instrument flight rating) certification for aviation. This will allow me to fly in any kind of weather to visit properties associated with my other business, and also to visit friends.
In what ways did your MC experience prepare you for your current vocation:
I use my chemistry everyday. I’m serious about that. My specialty is biotechnology and chemical patent application drafting and prosecution. My clients include hi-end organizations—Argonne National Laboratories, University of Chicago and the Department of Energy. These people deal with cutting edge stuff, protein engineering, enhanced aluminum production, ceramic technologies. My studies at MC provided me the grounding to begin to understand these technologies. While the more esoteric technologies didn’t really exist back then, like restriction enzyme technologies that are needed to manipulate DNA, I know what I don’t know and ask intelligent questions. The same is true with the oil and gas ops. For example, during partnership meetings, when the managing partner is trying to explain that certain condensates are causing nozzle freeze-ups at the Christmas tree, and therefore stymiing production, I understand why. What I am trying to say is that because of the bedrock in chemistry/biochemistry that Naylor/Bunde gave me, I was able to hit the ground running when I first started.
Thing you love most about what you do now:
It’s a combination of things. I love science (I really am a nerd at heart). I enjoy writing about science. In fact, I went from MC to the masters program in science communication at Boston University to become a science news reporter. And I like the law. These three things—science, writing and law—I do every day. It’s a perfect fit for me.
Favorite course at MC:
Spectroscopy. Naylor taught the NMR portion and Bunde taught the IR stuff. It dealt with both inorganic and organic analysis.
One thing you’ll never forget about MC:
There were so many things…I can recall wanting to please my instructors so much that I would try so hard. I remember Steve Danna, who was a biology major; he and I would hide underneath the lab desks, from the night security guards, so we could keep doing our experiments. I understand that Steve won the Science teacher’s award for New York State several years ago.
There were so many things that the instructors did for us and I never took it for granted. It was obvious they were working hard for us and it made me feel part of the campus.
I remember one day, at the end of the school year, after my first trimester at MC ( I just transferred in), when I received a low grade in my intro chemistry class, I was loading up my car in front of Sutton. Naylor was walking by and saw me packing all of my stuff from my study carrel. Without skipping a beat, he said, “Mike, leave those things in your carrel. You’ll be back in a couple months anyway.” And he just kept walking. That impressed me, first because he knew my name out of a class of 30 kids, and second, he had already made up his mind that I was coming back…and that made up my mind, too. From that point on, I knew I would be studying science at Maryville.
There lots of stories…lots of them! If you want a good one, just ask Bunde about the sheep heads!
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