August 21, 2008

‘Another Great Lafayette Experience’

Hosting a summer internship for Natalie Cothren ’09. By Danielle De Vita ’04

Danielle De Vita ’04 is a senior account executive for Novita Communications, a public relations firm specializing in architectural design in Brooklyn, N.Y. This summer, she hosted an internship for English major Natalie Cothren ’09 (Akron, Ohio).

During my sophomore year at Lafayette in 2002, I had the opportunity to serve an externship at Novita Communications, a New York-based boutique PR and marketing agency with a specialty in the domestic and international architecture/design industry. I can still remember meeting Christine Abbate ’85, the principal of the company, on my first day and immediately feeling at home and welcome.

The externship was such a unique and exciting experience that I decided to intern at the company over each of my summers and during January breaks. Now, four years later, I find myself on the professional side of yet another great “Lafayette Experience.”

This March, I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Cothren, a senior majoring in English with a minor in art history, for a summer internship position at Novita. Even over the phone, I could easily see her enthusiasm, creativity and eagerness to learn. Natalie began her internship in mid-May, which also happens to be the busiest time of year for the design community.

Of course, it was my personal goal to make sure that she received the same fulfilling experience that I did when I was in her position. So we immediately asked her to join us at a premier industry trade show in New York City and assist our top client, Ceramic Tiles of Italy, at their institutional booth. She quickly absorbed all of the necessary information and then went to work, answering questions and giving out materials. She not only impressed our entire staff, but our client as well.

I use this story as an example of Natalie’s character, determination, and professionalism. It is in this same manner that she handles all of her daily activities. Since her first day, she has attended several trade shows, handled editorial requests for our various clients, assisted with the content of a quarterly newsletter produced for the Italian Trade Commission in New York, written and edited press releases, and reorganized our contact management system. Natalie has proven herself time and again and is always willing to take on any challenge we give to her.

After being on both sides of the spectrum, I can see how beneficial the internship program can be to the student and the employer. I feel that the College’s Career Services department has really excelled at connecting young students with mentors in the workplace. It seems that more and more Lafayette undergrads are interested in media, communications, and marketing.

The College does a wonderful job of opening new doors and connecting them with a creative community that is so close at hand in New York City. I feel so honored to be a part of this amazing network and to have had the opportunity to share what I have learned as a young professional in the PR/marketing world with Natalie during her summer internship.

  • New York City internships and externships are a part of the unique Lafayette student experience

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