Students Pursue Business Training in Diverse Fields

The Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internships Fund, which supports students wishing to develop business skills, is one of the many summer grants available to Bowdoin students. This summer eight students received the grant, choosing to work in diverse fields and locations. We managed to catch up with two Goodfriend recipients: Christa Villari ’15, who is interning for a neuromarketing firm in Boston, and Katherine Gracey ’16, who is with Christie’s in Hong Kong.

Applying Neuroscience to Marketing

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Christa Villari ’15 at Innerscope

After interning for the past two summers at a research lab, neuroscience major Christa Villari had mastered many laboratory techniques and deepened her passion for neuroscience. But when she worked at a bakery in the evenings to support her unpaid neuroscience internship, she realized she enjoyed customer service and being a team member of a business as much as she liked investigating the mind.

Villari worried she would have to decide between her two interests. Then she heard about a Boston-based company that applies neuroscience to marketing. Innerscope Research, Inc. was founded in 2006 by a Harvard Medical School professor. By testing biomarkers such as perspiration, heart rate and eye movement, Innerscope’s neuromarketers try to determine whether someone is emotionally engaged to an ad or product design. Villari said various companies — such as Turner, Proctor & Gamble, and Campbell’s — have hired Innerscope to make more strategic business decisions “based on scientific evidence rather than pure intuition.”

Villari secured an internship with the company this summer, saying she’s been fully immersed in the growing start-up. She’s tested subjects, analyzed results, written up reports on data, and participated in client meetings “I love neuroscience and I loved what I was doing in the lab, but I needed a real-world application and person-to-person interaction,” she said. “This is perfect fit for me because I can use my neuroscience in creative ways.”

Working the International Art Market

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Katherine Gracey, with Rebecca Wei, President of Christie’s Asia in Hong Kong.

This summer, Katherine Gracey ’16 traveled to the other side of the world and took on a job helping to host social events in a big city brand new to her. Nevertheless, she quickly felt at ease, and was soon traveling from island to island and between city districts. “I think there is a lot of benefit to living in a foreign city that is completely unfamiliar to you,” she said. “It forces you to branch out and be adventurous.”

Gracey, an art history and archaeology major, chose to work in special events to learn about the business side of an auction house. “Special Events is great because I get to learn about the process of putting together auctions, cocktail parties, lectures, dinners, etc., and how important these components are to maintaining Christie’s brand and its reputation as a very selective auction house,” Gracey wrote in an email.

Taking time away from her academic interests to learn more about the business side of the art world, however, has only reinforced Gracey’s love for art, history and research. “It is something that I definitely want to incorporate into my daily work more in the future,” she said.

After graduating, Gracey wants to get a masters degree in art history and work for an auction house or a museum. “I would be happy to return to Christie’s and intern for one of the specialist departments, e.g. American Painting, 19th Century European or Impressionist/Modern,” she wrote. “But I am also open to building a relationship with a larger museum or institution because I believe in the necessity of art being accessible to the public and not only the enormously wealthy.”

To see what other Bowdoin students are up to this summer, check out this interactive map by Nina Underman ’15.

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