On Thursday, Aug. 5, more than 900 people attended a sold-out special event at the New York Stock Exchange to help raise funds for Autism Speaks to Young Professionals. Earlier that morning, Amanda Niederauer ’08, co-chair of the event, was briefly interviewed by Dave Price in the outside studio of the CBS Early Show.
Niederauer, of New York City, who is the compliance coordinator for Sotheby’s auction house, got involved with Autism Speaks last year when she started Autism Speaks to Young Professionals. She and a staff member of the organization had the idea to educate people in their 20s and 30s — the next generation of parents — to raise their awareness of autism. “With the growing numbers — 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys — of diagnoses,” says Niederauer, “it’s crucial that we spread awareness so that our generation knows what autism is and how to handle it if one of their children has autism.” She notes that the group has raised over $150,000 in just a year.
Other Lafayette alumni attending the event (see photo): Gregory Heitman ’09 (L-R),Kristen Lahoda ’08, Pat Dwyer ’08, Ashley Tolomer ’08, Brienne Brown ’08, Megan Carter ’09, Melissa Persaud ’08, Steven Roe ’08, Lauren Clarke ’08, Andrew Fallone ’09, Gustav Andersen ’08, Amanda Niederauer ’08, Patrick McGuire ’08, Ben Gardner ’08, Tyler Harden ’08, and James Baclawski ’08.
Niederauer explains that her brother, Liam, has autism, and the cause has been very important to her family for many years. “To see an event like last Thursday bring so many people together for this cause makes me have a lot of faith that the lives of children like Liam can change for the better. That happens with increased awareness.”
At Sotheby’s, Niederauer coordinates responsibilities for the worldwide compliance department, serving as liaison between the compliance department and the specialist art departments. “I deal with the movement of works of art around the globe, endangered species law, auction rules, and internal company policies,” she says. “We make sure that all business is conducted legally and ethically.”
Niederauer, an art and American Studies graduate, credits her study-abroad semester in London with helping her realize her passion. “I was trying to decide if art was a hobby or a career,” she says. While there, she held an internship at the Royal Academy of Art. That experience settled her mind and led to her current position at Sotheby’s.
Niederauer was president of Student Government at Lafayette and is now is co-chair of the Lafayette Young Alumni Committee with Alex Karapetian ’04.
Autism Speaks, founded in 2005, is the nation’s largest science and advocacy organization with a focus on funding research into the causes and cure of autism and on increasing awareness.