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C of I student Katy Lootens fulfills Disney dream

When she was a student at nearby Idaho Arts Charter School, College of Idaho senior-to-be Katy Lootens discovered the Disney College Program. She immediately knew it was something she wanted to do, and, after applying a second time, her persistence paid off this spring with an internship at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Lootens, a music major, spent the spring semester at Disney working primarily as a merchandise intern at Epcot Future World. She worked in the Art of Disney gallery and also took Disney Marketing You classes, where she learned how to do things the “Disney way,” including auditioning, marketing, merchandising and networking. She also completed a self-marketing project, “30-Second Commercial.”

“It explains who I am, what my experience is and what my goals are,” Lootens said of the project. “Learning to brag about myself has been a challenge, but the more I practice, the easier it becomes.”

In addition to learning valuable marketing techniques and building her resume, Lootens received credit for the internship through the C of I Center for Experiential Learning. She believes her experience with the Disney College Program will help her throughout her professional career. 

“We made our business cards and we are working on our resumes,” Lootens said of DCP. “[The program] is teaching us how to be professionals at Disney and preparing us for our future after college.”

At the C of I, Lootens is an outstanding musical performer who participates in many student ensembles and productions. Before she left for Florida, Lootens starred as Princess Pamina in the C of I Opera production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

“It was wonderful; I got to play a role I’ve always wanted to play,” Lootens said. “I love Mozart, so it was a great experience. It was definitely a challenge, but it was really fun.”

Lootens’ performance background proved to be a valuable asset at Disney.

“Even if you’re merchandizing or working at an attraction, you’re still playing a role and performing on stage, and [Disney] really emphasizes that,” Lootens said. “Uniforms are called costumes and instead of employees, we’re called cast members.”

During her internship, Lootens auditioned for a role as a park princess. And while she didn’t get the role, she did get the chance to talk to DCP alumni about life after the program. 

“Most of those folks are performing the roles they want to now at Disney,” Lootens said.

Perhaps a similar fairytale ending awaits Lootens after graduation. But no matter where her career takes her, Lootens is grateful for her Disney adventure and a spring semester she will never forget.

Click here to read more about Lootens’ Disney experience in her “Once Upon a Dream” blog.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.