WMU News

WMU students chosen for Walt Disney World college program

July 2, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Five Western Michigan University students have traveled to Florida to learn about the real world in the land of make-believe by participating in the Walt Disney World College Program.

The program provides a unique, multifaceted experience designed to increase practical knowledge of the various Disney entertainment and resort industries. The selected students are part of Disney's summer program, which began in June.

The WMU students joined other undergraduate students from more than 150 colleges and universities throughout the nation. Since Disney representatives began recruiting at WMU in 1993, more than 100 WMU students have participated in the program and have joined the ranks of more than 30,000 college program alumni worldwide.

Students are hired through an interview process and must be pursuing their degrees full time and in good academic standing.

The college program consists of three components: living, learning and working experience. Students live in the Vista Way apartment complex, located on the Disney property. Participants share fully furnished two- and three-bedroom apartments with students from other colleges and universities.

The learning aspect, called the Walt Disney World College Program Educational Curriculum, involves core business classes, elective seminars and self-directed study opportunities. Core business classes focus on the Disney culture, situational leadership, communication, the business world and cultural change.

The seminars include lectures, interactive case studies and individual and group activities. The electives allow students to personalize their learning experience and provide networking opportunities with professionals from various departments and disciplines within the Walt Disney World Resort.

The work experience places students in positions at various theme parks, resorts and other Disney operations. Students serve as "cast members" in areas such as merchandising, transportation, attractions, food services, custodial services, lifeguarding and hospitality.

While many of the students are receiving academic credit for the program, they also have an opportunity to receive a "Mousters" or "Ducktorate" degree upon successful completion of the program.

After successfully completing the program, students may apply for advanced internships that enable them to obtain more focused experience in a specific field. More than 60 advanced internship opportunities are offered, ranging from the Disney Cruise Line Marketing Internship to the Horticulture Internship.

Upon their return to campus, the students will become members of the Walt Disney World Program alumni chapter of WMU, which was established in 1996 to provide networking opportunities as well as to promote the development of the Walt Disney World College Program at WMU.

KEY: State, city, student's name, home address. Class, major, position.


KALAMAZOO--John L. Reed, 813 W. Lovell St. #B-110. A junior majoring in communication, he is serving as an attractions host.

Syeda Z. Siddiq, 100 Western Ave. #C-6. A junior majoring in broadcast and cable production and English, she is serving as a merchandise hostess.

STERLING HEIGHTS-- Tammy S. Giles, 41244 Cilantro Drive. A senior majoring in advertising, she is serving as a parks greeter hostess.

WIXOM-- Kimberly A. Crane, 1347 Cherrystone Court. A senior majoring in tourism and travel, she is serving as a food and beverage hostess.

YPSILANTI-- Amy E. Oltman, 5665 Caren Drive. A junior majoring in finance, she is serving as a lifeguard hostess.

Media contact: Jill Dobson, 616 387-8400, 98dobson@wmich.edu

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