Helping Hands

This summer a pair of Sarah Lawrence alumni provided an invaluable internship for a newly minted grad.

By Leslie Garisto Pfaff, Photo by Chris Taggart

eBay Sarah Lawrence College Internship

For three months this summer, Aaron Lindenberg '15 worked in a vast marketplace, combing through more than 800 million items—everything from concertinas to vintage Corvettes—to assemble unique collections with special appeal to customers. It was all part of his job as a writing and curatorial intern at eBay, the e-commerce giant with a major office in New York City. Lindenberg owes the internship not just to his writing talent and aesthetic sensibility but also to the desire of two Sarah Lawrence alumni to give something back to the college that gave them so much.

Michael Phillips Moskowitz '00 is eBay’s first global chief curator, tasked since he joined the company in 2013 with raising its aesthetic profile. To do that, he hired the fashion-forward musician Pharrell Williams as a brand ambassador, helped launch the company’s live auctions feature, and created the Collections: themed groupings of items with names like “Beyond the Baguette” (everything you’d need for a French-themed dinner party, from Provençal dinnerware to a vintage mustard pot). This summer, Moskowitz, along with eBay 
Curator Annie Thorkelson '00, sponsored the company’s first internship for Sarah Lawrence students. At a time when the College is working to expand internship opportunities, the eBay offering—which arose after a group of Sarah Lawrence students visited the company through the College’s Employer Site Visit Program—was particularly gratifying.

“We’re making a strategic effort to attract larger companies,” says Angela Cherubini, director of career services, who notes that alumni are an extremely important source of internships. With help from staff in Alumni Relations and Advancement, Cherubini works to create additional internship opportunities, particularly in the areas of film, law, and public relations.

As a business leader, Moskowitz recognizes the importance of establishing internships, not just for the experience they offer students but also for the way they benefit businesses. “It’s important to identify, tap into, and unleash the potential of young people,” he says. “But there’s also a special combination of potent ideas and untested, unchecked, unmolested optimism that you can harvest from people under the age of 22.”

It’s a quality he finds especially contagious at Sarah Lawrence. As Thorkelson observes, “The students who go to Sarah Lawrence tend to focus on areas that are highly creative, which just seemed like a natural fit for us.”

When they were students, Moskowitz and Thorkelson had internships that left lasting impressions. Moskowitz worked with The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace in Israel and with former Ambassador and Undersecretary of State Dick Murphy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Both internships, he says, presented “the chance to delve more deeply into the subject I was singularly passionate about.” Without those opportunities, he emphasizes, “I wouldn’t have been able to get my dream job [research assistant at the Washington Institute] right out of college.”

Internships have become even more critical since Moskowitz and Thorkelson graduated. "They're crucial for career development, individual growth, making connections, and testing different career paths," says Cherubini. She notes that alumni-sponsored internships offer inspiration as well as opportunity because they show students how Sarah Lawrence alumni are following their passions and doing what they love.

Among Aaron Lindenberg's passions are writing and music; he hopes to become a professional singer-songwriter. The internship at eBay afforded him the chance to hone his writing abilities in an entirely new way. "It was interesting to adapt my writing skills and my aesthetic sensibility to a different vision," he says. "I rarely did the same thing twice." 

In a note to Cherubini just before starting the job, he expressed his gratitude. "I definitely have SLC to thank for this one."