Mount Union Student Interning at the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida

April 27, 2010

Mount Union student, Katie Seward, has a six-month internship with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida. Seward, who is majoring in health and double minoring in multi-age education and psychology, works for Disney's Animal Kingdom as the educator presenter.

Katie Seward (second from left) with other Animal Kingdom interns

'My job is to aid the learning process and promote conservation messages,' Seward said. She said she begins each day at the front of the park with a scorpion, tarantula or other rare insect. If she is not there, she is located at an animal station which can include muntjacs, anteaters or macaws. While at an animal station, Seward is responsible for introducing guests to the animal and promoting conservation messages unique to each animal.

The rest of her day is spent at Kids' Discovery Club Stations where children can explore animal sounds, see unique animals and participate in exciting activities. Her job is to promote animal visibility and teach about animals, their habitats and what can be done to help.

'While at the Animal Kingdom I have had the opportunity to learn more about some very interesting animals including gorillas, lions, tigers, elephants and many other animals native to Africa and Asia,' Seward said.

Seward obtained her internship by applying through Disney's website and corresponding with representatives from the Animal Kingdom program via email. She participated in a phone conference call with a panel and was offered the job for which over 800 students applied.

Seward said her favorite part about the internship is meeting new people.

'I have made friends with people from all over the country including Indiana, Pennsylvania, California and Texas,' Seward said. 'It has really given me an opportunity to learn and grow. I also enjoy working with the animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom and sharing information with guests of all ages.'

The internship has provided her with knowledge that will help after college.

'Many Disney interns find full-time jobs with the company after graduation, but if they decide they would like to go a different route, Disney is a great way to network,' Seward said. 'Many skills and values Disney looks for in a person are the same core values many other companies like to see in employees.'

Seward said although this internship has taught more about animals than she ever thought it would, she has primarily learned about who she is.

'I have learned to become a true team player and work with people from many different backgrounds,' Seward said. 'I have improved my communication skills as I interact on a daily basis with people from all over the world including many people who do not speak English. It also has broadened my horizons and taught me to be open minded in all situations.'

Through the internship, Seward is receiving 12 credit hours toward graduation and she is also taking an independent study class via email and the Internet so she can graduate in May 2008.

'While I would love to work for Disney after graduation, I still plan on entering a master's program before I decide on a permanent full time job, however, having Disney as an option is definitely a positive thing,' Seward said.

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