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Big Job Experience, but it’s a Small World After All
Mention summer job to many college students and they think flipping hamburgers, waiting tables or mowing lawns. But for Oklahoma City University junior theater performance major Emily Lloyd, the Magic Kingdom is the first thing that comes to mind as the ideal place for an internship. Lloyd enjoyed her internship last spring and summer so much that she became a Disney College Program campus representative for OCU. She has been hosting informational booths and presentations describing how the program works. Through the Disney College Program, students can collect happy memories and work experience during any season without worrying about keeping track of too many day-to-day bills. “Working in entertainment is great, but it’s even better when you’re living in it,” Lloyd said, describing the things she liked best about her summer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. One of the advantages of the program is that participants can still take classes during their internships far from home, whether from a self-paced computer learning course or what the entertainment company calls the Individualized Learning Program. Lloyd pointed out that classes are held in the apartment complex where program participants temporarily live, which is less than two miles from Downtown Disney Marketplace where the major parks (Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park) meet. Some classes qualify as equivalents to courses from the student’s official home school. Lloyd said she was also appreciative of the chance to meet and work with Disney professionals, and a special class teaches skills specific to landing a job once college is finished. “I learned a lot of different things you wouldn’t normally get from taking classes at school. I enjoyed them, and networking with professionals is a big benefit, too,” she said. The folks at Disney also have the transportation issue figured out. For a place known for its roller-coaster and tea cup rides, the company has a pretty extensive - though perhaps less thrilling - bussing system that takes program participants to work, the grocery store, the mall and to home. “They provide almost everything you need,” Lloyd said. “The housing comes out of your paycheck automatically, there’s bus transportation to every day-to-day thing you would normally need to get to - it’s all pretty easy to use.” Oklahoma City is one of a handful of cities selected as performance candidate audition sites, which this year will be held Nov. 2 at the Oklahoma Ballet. As for Oklahoma City University specifically, the school has had a fair amount of representation in the program, though as Lloyd pointed out it’s still a relatively new thing for the school. So far six students from OCU have joined, three of which are there now. New this year is the addition of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., which gives students a choice in which cardinal direction they would like to spend a semester. Jill Harris, OCU assistant director of career services, said internship programs like Disney are good for students who want to get a little variety in their school-year training. “They offer all kinds of categories from performers, which require auditions, to greeters. You can work in one of the stores or go behind the scenes in the marketing department. There are just so many different things to choose from,” Harris said.