Freshman marketing major going to Disney World for dream internship

Taylor HerodesFreshman Taylor Herodes has fond memories of her childhood trips to Walt Disney World — her favorite fairy tales come to life, the friendliness of everyone she encountered and the overall dream-like experiences she enjoyed over and over again. So, when it came time for the marketing major to think about her future career, she turned to the Magic Kingdom in search of a meaningful internship experience.

In August, Herodes will head to Orlando as part of the Walt Disney World College Program, a selective paid internship that combines hands-on work in park operations, educational opportunities and a living experience with fellow interns.

“When I was a kid, the people who worked at Disney always stood out to me,” she said. “I looked up to those people as they were all so friendly and helpful, and that enhanced my visits to the park. I want to be that hero that little kids admire, too.”

In the program, Herodes will be able to take courses relevant to her marketing major, taught from the perspective of those working in a Fortune 500 company, and transfer that coursework back to Aurora University for credits toward her bachelor’s degree so that she does not fall behind in her program. But, for Herodes, the most exciting part of the internship is the chance to expand her worldview.

“I wanted to have a completely new experience and get to know people that I would otherwise never meet,” she said. “People come from all over the world to be a part of this internship program, and I can’t wait to live and work with them.”

Through the extensive application and interview process, Herodes has been guaranteed a spot in the program for the fall 2012 semester, but she is reaching even further to advance in the company. In March, she will audition for a role as a character in the park, and when her internship is completed, she plans on climbing up the next step of the Disney ladder: the professional internship.

“In the end, I want to be a part of Disney’s corporate marketing operation,” said Herodes, who is from Yorkville. “But I understand that you have to work your way up. This is the first step in what is hopefully a successful career.”

Herodes, like many AU students, is focused on her future career and taking the steps necessary to get there, even as a freshman. A recent transfer student, she came to AU looking for an education where she could stand out, take an active role in her classes and get the attention that she needs to prepare for her future.

“I started college at a huge school, and I just wasn’t getting the education that I wanted,” she said. “At AU, everything is so personalized. The admission staff remembered me from when I first called to when I came to visit. My classes are small and interactive, and I really wanted that kind of experience.”

To stay connected to her family, friends and the AU community, Herodes will be video blogging during the internship, and she looks forward to coming back to AU to share her Disney experience and the skills that she learned.

For more information on internship opportunities for current students, visit AU Career Services.