12 JJC Students Selected for Disney’s Culinary, College Programs

The Walt Disney Company has selected 12 Joliet Junior College students to work at its Orlando, Florida theme parks and resorts next year through its culinary and college programs.

Selected students gathered for a Mickey Bon Voyage meeting Nov. 19 at Romeoville Campus, where they learned more about the internships, the JJC and Disney Company expectations, as well as received advice and tips from Disney program alumni.

Disney fall 2019 students
Back row; L to R: Bryce Herron, Emilio Gaytan, Brandon
Perez, Lexy Martin, Emily Nichols, and Christen
Mazura-Morris. Front row: Alumni Patricia Maurer, Kellie
Jarose, Thomas Neises, Alyssa Stonesifer, and Emily

“The program taught me what I want to do with my future, which is to work for the Walt Disney Company in marketing,” said JJC student Patty Maurer, 24, who worked in merchandising inside the company’s All-Star Sports Resort. “I also learned more about myself and gained many professional skills.”

View photos from the information event.

Five of the students will participate in the six-month Disney Culinary Program, where they will work at one of the park’s 300 restaurants as a cook or in a pastry or bakery role. Seven students will serve in Disney’s College Program, which allows participants to build transferable skills through personal and career development opportunities. The paid internships include on-site housing and transportation to and from work locations. Students also receive discounts on food and souvenirs as well as free entry into theme parks, water parks and other Disney properties. 

Most JJC students will begin their internships in January. Each said they are excited to work at and enjoy the parks while meeting new friends.

“I’ve been waiting years for this opportunity and can’t wait to make my dreams come true in the place where dreams come true,” Emily Ferneau, 19, who is studying fashion merchandising. “I expect to work hard, make lots of friends, ride Splash Mountain more times than I can count, and make amazing memories.”

21-year-old Brandon Perez said he’s looking forward to learning new ways to make desserts as a culinary intern. He’ll be working special events at Magic Kingdom.

“I’m very happy and excited to have the opportunity to get better at making pastries,” said Perez.

Other students selected to the culinary and college programs include Alyssa Stonesifer (merchandise), Emilio Gaytan (cook), Kellie Jarose (front desk), Emily Nichols (watercraft), Thomas Neises (specialty beverages), Tyler Doughty (cook), Alexandra Craig (baker), Alexis Carlson (quick service food and beverage), Bryce Herron (cook) and Lexy Martin (lifeguard).

JJC currently has five students working down in Orlando. Marina Hambly is studying theatre and special education at JJC, and at Disney serves as a lifeguard at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. She shared her experiences with the newly selected students via video message.

“My program has taught me how precious life is and how you need to savor ever moment to its fullest and never take anything for granted,” said Hambly. “It’s not a job when you work for Disney, it’s a way of life and will follow you. Pixie dust will form in your blood and it will be sprinkled everywhere you go.”

“I love being a part of the Disney College Program!” said Alyssa Morales, another current Disney intern working in attractions at Magic Kingdom and a JJC theatre major. “It has helped with my self-confidence and I enjoy making magic at the most magical place on earth! I would love the opportunity to be a stage manager working for Disney!”

Guiding the students through the selection process is JJC Career Advisor and Disney College Coordinator Christen Mazura-Morris, an alumna of the Disney College Program.

“You could feel their energy and excitement as well as anxiousness about getting ready to leave on their internship,” said Mazura-Morris about the information event. “Also, it was really awesome that over half of the students stayed one and a half hours after the meeting, hanging out, talking Disney movies, swapping stories, and asking each other questions to get to know one another better.”

Mazura-Morris said she’s envisioned this type of networking among JJC Disney students and alumni, which encourages support of one another in achieving their goals and realizing their dreams.

Mazura-Morris will have the opportunity to visit Orlando in February to connect with JJC students, as well as learn about their experiences in order to share with future Disney students.

For media inquiries, contact Communications and Media Coordinator Scott Harvey at sharvey@jjc.edu or 815-280-2844.