New College first year student Hannah Weatherwax and third year student Ashley Rodrigues had their hands full with new experiences this past January, immersed for a month-long intensive internship in the fast-paced business world of the high-end designer fashion and art resale markets at Designing Women. Each internship was collaboratively designed by the students, their sponsoring professors, and DWB – aided by Designing Women volunteer Mitzi Fiedler (U. Wisconsin Madison, PhD Education).
Student Hannah shadowed DWB Executive Director Susan Jackewicz, delving into everything from statistics, industry benchmarking, and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), to the mechanics of offering specialty customer services utilizing an internationally-recognized vendor who authenticates high-priced, used designer handbags. “The experience of working with a small not for profit will be helpful for my biology and business double major, as my goal is working as a geneticist, most likely in a non-profit environment. A lot of the things I learned working with the team at DWB can be relevant to any future employment of mine”.
Student Ashley focused on sharpening her Art History research and writing skills, accumulating provenance data, conducting interviews, and doing online fact gathering for art works by internationally known artists in the DWB Galleries. Between questioning museum curators at The Ringling in Sarasota and the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, hunting down sold lots at online auction aggregators and national auction houses, and having conversations with collectors and gallery owners, she generated substantive portraits of works both within their genres and in the timeline of evolving artists’ styles. “I feel it’s most important to know the cultural and historical background of the artist, the time period and culture in which they lived, to have a richer appreciation of their work”.