Rutgers Alumni Take On Disney After On-Campus Hospitality Experience

Rutgers Alumni Take On Disney After On-Campus Hospitality Experience

Working at the Rutgers Inn and Conference Center primed pair for competitive internship program

Ramon Lucas
Ramon Lucas, a 2013 Rutgers mathematics graduate, is two years into his career with The Walt Disney Company after completing its internship program.
Photo: Courtesy of Disney

'With Disney being a company that prides itself on diversity and having so many people visit across the nation, knowing how to efficiently communicate with international guests is essential.'
 
– Jaelynn Vizzi, 2016 Rutgers graduate 

Jaelynn Vizzi left for the Disney College Program just after Labor Day with her brand new Rutgers communications degree in hand.

Ramon Lucas, a 2013 Rutgers mathematics graduate, is already two years into his career at The Walt Disney Company after participating in the same Disney internship Vizzi just started.

Both individuals gained a world of experience on campus by serving people of diverse languages and cultures as resident coordinators at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center (RUICC).

Working at the RUICC taught Vizzi how to help others overcome language barriers and acclimate to different cultures – a must since the inn drew guests from more than 42 countries in 2015. The experience primed Lucas and Vizzi for their four-month Disney internships.

“With Disney being a company that prides itself on diversity and having so many people visit across the nation, knowing how to efficiently communicate with international guests is essential,” commented Vizzi. “Hearing guests talk about their homes from different parts of the globe is something that I cherish.”

The Disney College Program is a recruiting pipeline for The Walt Disney Company, an international entertainment and media enterprise with revenue of $52.5 billion in fiscal year 2015 and 185,000 employees. The paid internship provides work and learning opportunities at Disney’s theme parks and resorts.

Jaelynn Vizzi
Jaelynn Vizzi started the Disney College Program this fall after graduating from Rutgers in May with a communications degree.
Photo: Courtesy of Jaelynn Vizzi
Working at Disney fulfills a lifelong dream for Lucas who as an intern was an attractions host for rides including Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise and Expedition Everest at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. His responsibility was to help each of the thousands of guests he worked with every day have a magical experience.

“Growing up, I was always fascinated by amusement parks and their rides,” he said. “I played the video game ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’ almost endlessly. My dream at the time was to one day build and design roller coasters and to work for such an industry in real life.”

As resident coordinators at RUICC, Lucas and Vizzi checked guests in and out of the inn and attended to front-desk inquiries, concerns and maintenance requests. It’s a busy place: In 2015, the inn and conference center hosted 305 events, 16,000 meeting visitors, and 11,000 overnight travelers in its six meeting rooms, dining room and 32 guest rooms. That’s an occupancy rate of 74 percent, its highest ever.

“I enjoyed meeting the guests, as there was a wide variety of people who stayed there,” said Lucas of his experience as a resident coordinator. “There were guests who were unaffiliated with the school, visiting lecturers and professors, parents of students, and actually for a short-time, current students as they used the inn for temporary housing.”

Coordinators earn a stipend and live on the property for a semester or longer, depending on the student’s schedule, performance and the business’ needs.

“Initially it a way to obtain housing on-campus, but it turned out to be so much more than that,” said Lucas. “I think the RUICC, with its smaller staff, functions successfully because of everyone’s strong communication and team work. That helped me be successful in my roles at Disney.”

In Lucas’s full-time job as a revenue management statistical associate he provides real-time room availability information for websites such as Expedia for Walt Disney World resorts in Florida, Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii, Disneyland Resort in California, and Disney Vacation Club resorts. He taps his Rutgers degree regularly, using analytics to maximize profit and occupancy and prevent “oversells” at Disney World resorts.

His post-internship successes with Disney encourage Vizzi.

“I hope to gain many more experiences with even more people across the globe,” said Vizzi. “and eventually land a full-time job there like Ramon has.”


For more information, contact Beth Salamon at bsalamon@docs.rutgers.edu or 732-932-3640.