February 2, 2010

Amanda Niederauer ’08 Takes Her Externship Experience Full Circle

Job shadowing during her sophomore year inspired her to host current students at Sotheby’s in New York City

Over the winter break, Amanda Niederauer ’08, compliance assistant with Sotheby’s art auction house in New York City, hosted a multi-day externship experience for Christina Abruzzo ’12 (Summit, N.J.), a mathematics-economics major, and Deanna Evans ’13 (Glen Rock, N.J.), a geology major.

Four years ago, as a sophomore at Lafayette, I participated in an externship with Kimberly Sica ’04 at Quick & Simple magazine. As an American studies major, I wanted to explore the publishing industry, and the three-day externship provided me with the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into a business that I knew very little about. I had a terrific experience with Kim and thought that I’d end up in publishing, but my career path has ended up much differently than I ever imagined. After deciding to double major in art, my interest in the subject led me to pursue a career in the auction world, and after graduation in 2008 I started to work for Sotheby’s in their compliance department.

While my externship with Kim taught me a number of things about publishing, it also taught me about the importance of giving back to Lafayette as an alumna. Getting exposure to an industry like publishing was an invaluable experience to me, and I wanted to give back to the program the same way that Kim had. Moreover, I wanted to offer a field to the externship program that wasn’t widely represented when I was a student.

This year I hosted two students, Christina Abruzzo and Deanna Evans, and they were fantastic. Both Christina and Deanna came into the experience eager to learn. I had some projects set aside for them to work on over the course of their three days here, and they jumped right in and got everything done; I had to create more projects for them after the first day!

I was also able to arrange for the girls to meet with some of our specialist art departments so they could gain some insight into how a sale is developed from the specialist side of the business, and they asked thoughtful questions of everyone they met with. In compliance, I work with legal in a largely pre-sale capacity, working to dispel any potential legal issues prior to the sale.

This can mean anything from securing sale permits for endangered material such as ivory to researching movement of the art from international countries to the U.S. to ensure that property is being shipped legally with the proper licenses. In this process, I work very closely with all of the art departments in the company, and Christina and Deanna were able to get a sense for the interaction that we all have in the planning of an auction at Sotheby’s.

All of my colleagues were very impressed with Christina, Deanna, and the Lafayette externship program as a whole, and I can’t say that I’m at all surprised. Volunteering as an externship host has been a terrific experience, and after two years in the program I’m certain I will volunteer for as long as I have a job.

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