Kent State students experience a magical internship

(From the left) Laura King, Victoria Piering, Samantha Peirce, Raegan Bishop, Michela Rocco.

Danielle Johnson

Kent State students have the opportunity every year to intern at “the most magical place on Earth:” Walt Disney Resorts.

Students in any major can apply for the semester long internship because there are many different jobs available.

“Students can request what they want to do,” said Rob Heiman, hospitality management professor and Kent State Disney internship liaison. “About 80-90 percent of the requests are honored, and they can do anything from working in fast food to working in retail.”

David Haberman, a junior hospitality management major, said the program is brought up several times to students in his major by professors and advisors because of the great reputation it has.

It is an opportunity for students in all majors to network, meet new people and learn valuable skills.

“One of the many wonderful things about Disney is everyone who I met and worked for wanted to help me and for me to be successful,” Haberman said.

Not only is the internship paid, but there are also many other benefits, including discounts on food and merchandise, as well as free admission into the theme parks. Students can also take classes while they are there.

“Most of our hospitality students take classes,” Heiman said. “They transfer over to Kent as electives.”

Some students in the program are placed in jobs that don’t pertain to their major. 

“One of the main things I learned while I was in Disney was how to provide excellent hospitality and guests service,” Haberman said.

Junior special education major Michela Rocco explained what she learned while working in food service her semester at Disney World.

“Though my education major has nothing to do with food service, the communication, organization and time management skills I learned in Disney will help me become a better teacher,” she said. 

Disney does not look at its interns as temporary workers. Instead, they are considered cast members.

Some students who may not have considered working for Disney Resorts in their post-grad future have considered returning to it after their internship.

“I might consider a seasonal job since I will always have summers off,” Rocco said.

Each year, an average of two students from Kent State go on to apply for full-time positions.

Heiman said that he will always try to push this program for students because everyone comes back saying it was an amazing experience.

“I originally thought that I was going to get a free vacation and a chance to work for a Fortune 500 company, but it ended up being so much more,” Rocco said. “I made lifelong memories, met some of the most amazing people and got the opportunity to work at a once-in-a-lifetime job.”

Danielle Johnson is the jobs reporter, contact her at [email protected].