Disney Internship: Found on Switchboard through alumnus Troy Hodges
It’s a small world after all. Last year, Seattle Pacific University junior Monique Diaz posted on the University’s career online networking community, Switchboard. She wanted to learn more about career opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry. Alum Troy Hodges, a 2016 business management graduate, responded.
“I was part of the Disney College Program in the last half of 2015,” says Troy, who today is an assistant manager with Sherwin-Williams Paint. “When I read Monique’s post on Switchboard and that she was interested in the hospitality industry, I connected with her.” He coached her in the all-important phone interview for the competitive slots at a Disney property, where college students can gain degree credit and an education in a variety of hospitality roles from resort lodging to park operations. Troy was part of the transportation team at Disneyland that provided oversight to acres of parking efficiencies and the shuttling of patrons via the Mickey & Friends tram system.
“I coached Monique on typical interview questions and what to emphasize, and we practiced some mock interviews,” says Troy, who wants to gain management experience in marketing and analytics before perhaps one day rejoining Disney. “Through good times and bad, my family always found Disneyland to be a happy place.”
It was on one of those Disney excursions that a much younger Troy first heard from a college-aged ride survey taker that he should consider someday working at Disney too.
Now a senior communication major with a double minor in women’s studies and reconciliation, Monique took Troy’s advice and successfully negotiated the phone interview for the College Program at Florida’s Walt Disney World. In August, she was assigned to the front desk at the park’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. She checks guests in and out and assists them with directions, reservations, and in-room celebrations for birthdays and other special occasions. Unexpectedly, she was part of the “ride-out team” that stuck by remaining resort guests who safely sheltered in place throughout Hurricane Irma in September.
Not only did Monique put the wisdom of networking with SPU alumni via Switchboard to the test for the Disney internship, she has served as a campus tour guide and a peer career advisor in the Center for Career and Calling.
“It is internships and work experience in general that really set you apart post-graduation,” says Monique. “The Career Center is filled with amazing staff that encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and discover what you’re most passionate about. And I’m a huge Switchboard fan for both students and alumni. Not only is it a great resource, but it emphasizes who we are as the Seattle Pacific community – we support each other!”
So impressed is she with the career help she received from the CCC and Troy Hodges, Monique plans after graduation to continue assisting and advising SPU students in their hunt for the next best step in shaping their work experience. She calls it “returning the favor” and firmly believes in a multitude of counselors for the job search.
Long-term, she’d like to join the Diversity and Inclusion Department at Disney. She highly values cultural awareness and opportunities to help other graduates thrive.
“Alumni giving back like that is so helpful,” adds Troy. “Why wouldn’t I, given how much I learned from those who went before me? It’s one of the most valuable things SPU offers, connection to people in a given industry.” When Troy the student was looking for an industry mentor, SPU’s Mentor Program connected him with a general manager at the Westin Hotel, someone he considers “an extremely valuable contact in getting the ball rolling.”
- Alumni Job Search Resources. Make a free appointment today with a career counselor in the Center for Career and Calling, 206-281-2485.
- Switchboard. For details and sign-up.
- Mentor Program. Come alongside current SPU students by emailing your interest to the Center for Applied Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org.