Making Magical Moments: My Disney College Program Experience

jackie bassey pooh characters

By Jacqueline Bassey

I have always had a set plan in life: finish school as fast as possible at the top of my class so I could start being successful young. I was focused on getting internships, going to every networking event I could find, and making connections. Taking a semester off to work at Disney was never in my plan. One day I saw an advertisement online for the Disney College Program, and I decided to apply for fun. I had heard it was extremely competitive, and people I knew who applied waited weeks or even months to hear back from the recruiters. I went through all three interview stages in two weeks, and was accepted. My parents had never heard of the program and thought I was going to drop out of school for good and ride Space Mountain all day. After conducting a lot of research and convincing my parents and myself that this was a good idea, I made the decision to enroll in the Disney College Program this fall.

Everyone gets a role in the program. Because I am a Marketing major, my first choice was to work in sales and merchandise. I was accepted into this field but I did not know where I was going to work until a week before the program began. I am located in the Emporium on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom; specifically, the Emporium is on the left side of Main Street and is that gigantic strip of stores that are all connected. My costume is very familiar to me. I wear a plaid skirt, which was my uniform in Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade. I did have to adjust to a new schedule. My location is the last place that closes in Magic Kingdom, so getting home at 4:30 am is now normal for me.

The second part of the program is the school. I take two classes: “Organizational Leadership” and “Creativity and Innovation.” The course load for the four-hour classes is time consuming, since I also work 45 hours a week. However, my classes are very interactive, and I get excited to go each week. My teachers have had several different management roles throughout Disney with years of experience. The best part is the field work: I get to go into areas of Disney and observe how businesses run and the different consumer behavior styles that guests exhibit. I am learning leadership skills that can only be taught by leaders of a Fortune 500 company with excellent guest service.

The final component of the program is the fun! I have made friends from all over the world. I have a roommate from Puerto Rico, one from Texas, and one from the one and only Long Island. When we are not working, we go to the parks as much as we can. We also have opportunities to attend special events. We got a backstage tour of Fantasmic and sat in the front row for the taping of the holiday parade.

My absolute favorite part of the program is making magical moments for guests. I have been part of proposals and birthday celebrations, and I make little girls become princesses for a day. It does not matter how old a guest is; they came to Disney for the magic, and it is my job (with the help of my boss, Mickey) to create homemade magic with a little pixie dust. In the words of Walt Disney, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”

From College Student to TV Industry Professional: How I Made It to Hollywood

By Ronnie Amato (’17)

In 2013 I started my journey at Molloy College as an undeclared freshman not quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. Four years later, I am a college graduate living in California and starting my career in television. I couldn’t have done it without Molloy.

Over the last four years, the professors and faculty at Molloy have gone above and beyond for me. Not only did they help me find my passion, but they also challenged me and allowed me to develop and perfect my craft.

During my senior year, I was inspired by my professors James Cohen and Thomas Kenny to apply for an Emmy internship with the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences. Both Jamie and Tom are members of the Academy, and they recognized I had what it takes to get the internship. Out of the 1,500 people that applied, I was one of only 50 to be accepted into the program. I was selected to work at Bunim/Murray Productions in Glendale, California. Bunim/Murray Productions is credited with creating the reality TV genre and is known for Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Real World, Project Runway, and The Challenge. This year alone, Bunim/Murray Productions is up for 12 Emmy nominations.

For eight weeks, I was exposed to all areas of post-production: digitizing, assistant editing, shadowing editors, offline editing, online editing, audio, and music. At the end of my internship, I was hired as a digitizer at Bunim/Murray. I am responsible for the ingest of media for all of their shows. I will also be training to take my AE test so I can become an assistant editor.

I am so excited to start my career, and I know none of this would have been possible without Molloy. The Communications and New Media departments have done a phenomenal job of making sure I was not just a number in a classroom. They provided me with so many great mentors and alumni inside and outside of the classroom who have years of experience in the industry. I had classes as early as freshmen and sophomore year where I was exposed to the same equipment and software used by professionals. These hands-on experiences gave me a competitive edge when looking for internships and jobs.

I always tell people I didn’t choose Molloy; Molloy chose me. I wasn’t the same person four years ago that I am today. The College helped me build the foundation of knowledge and experience I needed to start my career. Molloy made me realize anything is possible as long as you put in the hard work.

Images courtesy of Ronnie Amato.

Finding Myself at Molloy

By Sarah Moughal

When I started my freshman year, I wasn’t sure if Molloy was for me. I chose Molloy at the last minute because it was close by and offered a great Business program. I am a junior now and have fallen in love with all that the school offers during my years here. Molloy is ideal for someone who wants to make the most of her college years. The College makes it possible for me to take the classes I want, be involved on campus, and intern.

I love that Molloy doesn’t constrict me to one field of study. I am majoring in Accounting and minoring in Art History. I am happy that I can pursue my Business degree and take classes in the Art department. I also like that I can sign up for elective classes. For example, I got the chance to take an American Sign Language class, which was awesome!

The faculty is always available to help and provide extra assistance. My professors work one-on-one with me to help me understand the course material. Having a very open, friendly relationship with my professors allows me to build my network and gain support and confidence in my studies and career aspirations. My Corporate Finance professor always pushed me to try harder – he frequently stayed after class to help me and encouraged me throughout the class to stay focused and made sure I understood the course. My Art professor saw the passion I had for art history and offered me free tickets to MOMA and a personal tour conducted by her. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve made with professors at Molloy.

Outside of class, I am president of a club called Circle K International. This club is part of an international service organization, which means we interact with various schools in New York State, as well as internationally. Through my club, I am able to work with other clubs on campus to brainstorm new projects and host events. Student Affairs is always welcoming new proposals and ideas to add to campus life. This year, I have focused on mental health awareness and am in the process of hosting a “Let It Go” event. I am collaborating with a project coordinator at Molloy who is a professional on speaking for suicide awareness. We are proposing a bonfire on campus where students, faculty, and staff can throw in a written note with insecurities, issues, or fears and just let them burn and let them go. Molloy allows me to share my voice on such a strong topic – I am constantly motivated by my school to express my voice and help others.

I am exposed to many cultures at Molloy. Many of my classmates and club members were born in different countries or have parents who were born outside of the U.S. Molloy is huge on studying abroad and expanding cultural exposure. I have been inspired by my school’s diversity to use my club and voice as a platform to work with Student Affairs on getting international flags hung up at Molloy.

At Molloy, we are fortunate to be able to take part in many networking events, which is how I landed my internship this semester. I am a production design intern at Lifetime Brands, which is a huge international houseware production company. I get to research new patents and prints while working with people overseas to make samples and prototypes for various tabletop products. I am grateful that I can commute to my internship and then back to class. This allows me to gain experience in the field of my study as well as guide me into what I want to do with my career.

Molloy College offers me the chance to utilize my time to the fullest. I am able to juggle so much while getting a quality education. I can run my club, participate in other clubs, throw campus events, and engage in networking and cultural events. I can be the well-rounded and ambitious student that I want to be.

My Speech Pathology Externship in Puerto Rico

By Arielle Mayer
With the support of the graduate Communication Sciences and Disorders department, I was fortunate enough to recently complete a five-week externship in Puerto Rico. The opportunity was appealing to me because my ultimate professional goal is to be able to work as a bilingual speech pathologist. My Spanish experience has been primarily academic — I obtained a second major in Spanish Language Literature and Culture at Molloy — so I wanted to gain more experience speaking the language in the clinical setting. During this externship, I worked with adults in several settings including acute care, inpatient rehab, and a private practice.

My experience in Puerto Rico exposed me firsthand to the cultural differences as well the differences between the healthcare systems there and in the United States. Puerto Rico is considered a commonwealth and therefore part of the U.S.; however, many Puerto Ricans identify more with the Latin culture than with that of the mainland. The majority of doctors in Puerto Rico receive their education and training in the United States. Additionally, all of the medical facilities in Puerto Rico are required to meet the same healthcare standards as U.S. facilities. However, due to lack of resources, many healthcare professionals are unable to perform procedures utilizing the newer techniques in which they have been trained. Thus, they rely on older methods in order to treat their patients.

As a speech language pathologist, I was affected by the lack of medical resources as well. At Molloy’s Speech, Language, and Hearing Center, we have access to some of the most cutting edge instrumentation available. Not many clinicians in the U.S. have access to technology such as an ultrasound; however, I was fortunate enough to have spent an entire semester utilizing this instrument while treating clients. In Puerto Rico, I ultimately ended up learning how to diagnose and treat clients without being able to rely on these materials. Many of the standardized tests used to diagnose speech and language disorders are not normed in Spanish. Norm referenced tests are designed so that you can compare your current patient to the performance of other test takers in order to determine the severity/presence of their deficits. The fact that these tests aren’t normed in Spanish presents a problem because it won’t give you an entirely accurate diagnosis of your client. Therefore, I was required to become much more resourceful. My supervisor created all of his treatment materials by himself, often on the spot in front of a patient. As a result, I was required to do the same. While this was extremely daunting at first, I realized that it eventually helped me hone my clinical judgment and become a more adaptable clinician.

I feel that this experience completely pushed me out of my comfort zone. In addition to this being my first experience working with adults in the hospital setting, I was required to practice in a nonnative language. I learned so much about myself and about my profession in the process. I am so thankful to the Communications Sciences and Disorders department for supporting me throughout the entire externship process, and to the Modern Languages department for helping me develop enough proficiency in Spanish so that I could experience such an amazing professional opportunity.

Image courtesy of Arielle Mayer

My Unforgettable Experience in the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Fellowship Program

By Kristen Ponticelli

oncology fellowship

Last summer, Molloy nursing students Lauren Henry, Patricia Mele, Kelly Anne Murphy and I had the honor of participating in the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Fellowship Program. The program was started by Mr. Fred Flynn after his beautiful wife Susan lost her battle to ovarian cancer. Mr. Flynn was touched by how wonderful his wife’s nurses were and wanted to create a program to pave the way for future oncology nurses. His fellowship places future oncology nurses onto oncology floors to encourage hands-on learning.

We spent 6 weeks on oncology floors in either New York Presbyterian Columbia or Weill Cornell. Working 37.5 hours a week, we followed a nurse preceptor and were able to learn more than we could have ever imagined. We also spent one week in hospice home care and one week in Calvary Hospital. At the conclusion of the program, we created and presented an evidence-based project.

I was placed at Weill Cornell on 10N, a medical oncology unit. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming and was more than willing to share their knowledge with me. I worked alongside my nurse preceptor, who explained everything to me, asked me questions to test my knowledge, and answered any questions that I had. I was able to learn more than I could have ever imagined working one-on-one with my nurse preceptor. My preceptor gave me advice about time management, organizing my day and how to comfort patients and their families. She always looked out for opportunities for me to observe something that I hadn’t seen before.

During my internship, I was able to interact and care for many amazing and inspiring people who just happened to be my patients. I was able to hold their hands when their families could not be there. I was able to sit down with them and talk to them about anything that they wanted. Some wanted to vent, others spoke about their families, and some just wanted to tell me about their journey that led them to where they were that day. I had one patient who told me his personal story from the time he was diagnosed with cancer to the fight he had put up that led him to where he was that day. I will never forget these conversations and all of the patients will never know how much they have impacted me.

Molloy nursing students are beyond lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of Mr. Flynn’s fellowship program. I could never thank him and the wonderful staff at both Molloy and New York Presbyterian enough for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity possible for us.

For any nursing students here at Molloy who aspire to be oncology nurses and are passionate about doing so, I strongly suggest applying to be a part of this fellowship program. You will not regret it!

Image courtesy of Kristen Ponticelli.