Destination Graduation: Honors student gets opportunity to intern with Disney

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The laughter of children and the screaming from people braving the roller coasters fills the air. Brightly dressed princesses and cartoon figures roam the park to the delight of both kids and their parents. The sun beats upon the crowds by day and dazzling fireworks light the way at night in a place that gives people the closest glimpse to a magical world as possible.

Anyone who visits a Disney theme park is left with memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. For Rachael Campos, just visiting Disney was not enough, and when she graduates from Sam Houston State University in August, she will be moving to Orlando, Florida for an internship with Disney a move she hopes will lead to a permanent career.

“I have always had a passion for Disney,” Campos said. “When I was little, my grandma would always take me to Disney, and it was a very special time and experience for us to share together. We enjoyed the happy and welcoming cast members who made sure you had a magical time. I want to be on the other end, and give that experience to someone else like the people there gave to me.”

Campos will work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida as an intern under the job title of front entrance operations, where she will spend her time at the entrance of the park creating the magic she learned to love as a child.

“I will work at the front, doing stuff like taking tickets and greeting people,” Campos said. “I will be one of the first people they see when they come in the park, so I’ll be helping them start their wonderful experience at Disney.”

Campos said her internship would end in January 2014, where she will then be offered another job or a professional internship. She hoped that she would get a job offer at some point in her career with Disney where she could use her degree in Accounting, but she also wanted to be able to work in the park and interact with the people before taking a desk job.

“After my internship, I would like to continue to work on the operation side of the park where I can interact with the people and give them the experience I got when I would visit,” Campos said. “Once I’ve done that, I would like to move to the professional side and do something with taxes or budgeting so I can use my degree.”

Campos said one thing at SHSU that really helped prepare her for the move to Disney was all the clubs and organizations she joined on campus.

“Being involved in the different organizations at SHSU has offered helped mold my leadership skills as well as prepare me for the diversity and interactions with people I will encounter [while] working for Disney,” Campos said. “The organizations I’ve been involved in have made me more of a ‘people’ person and have taught me to get used to all the diversity in the world. There are Disney parks all over the world, and people come from all over the globe just to attend the Orlando park.”

Being in the Honors College provided an advantage in her future career according to Campos. She mentioned Dr. Ronald Daigle, associate professor of accounting, as being an especially big influence on her life and academic success, both as her mentor and teacher.

“Being in the Honors College is how I met Dr. Daigle, and he was able to influence my life in a positive way by teaching me life lessons, such as always do what is right, never give up and always follow your dreams,” Campos said. “He has been a mentor for me throughout my college experience. He’s given me motivation for my future and he also taught me a lot about the field I will be working in.”

Daigle also enjoyed having Campos as his student and remembered the time spent with her as enjoyable and motivational.

“Rachael was a joy to have as a student,” Daigle said. “Students like her inspire me to give my best as a teacher. Learning is a two-way street between the teacher and student, and it was most definitely true with Rachael. It was very apparent to me that she saw learning as the goal of most concern, as opposed to the grade to be earned.”

Campos said she felt that her time at SHSU has prepared her for her future at Disney.

“I feel ready to go out and work,” Campos said. “High school was different than college, but I got used to that. I feel like I am a lot more prepared than I would be if I hadn’t come to Sam. It’s scary but I’m more than ready for it. I’m ready to give back to people what I received as a child, the magic of Disney.”