Disney director and alumnus to visit and present

Students can intern behind the scenes at Disney with any major


PETER AN | Daily Evergreen File

WSU alumnus Matt Estes talks to students about hispresentation, “Behind the Magic at Disney” in 2016.

NINA WILLIS, Evergreen reporter

Disney magic comes to campus through internship opportunities for students.

Matt Estes, Disney executive director of enterprise architecture, graduated from WSU in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in music performance, theory and composition.

He will host a series of series of presentations and a coffee hour plus brown bag lunch for students interested in Disney Professional Internships.

Judy Hopkins, academic success and career center internship coordinator, said Estes reached out to her two years ago and asked what he could do to cultivate opportunities for students.

“Matt is really a compelling individual; he has quite an artistic look to him,” Hopkins said. “But he wouldn’t qualify to work in a Disney park because he has a pony tail. It’s a completely different criteria when it comes to parks and college program internships.”

Historically, Disney had sent a representative for its Disney College Program to WSU, but the program changed to where they discontinued that, Hopkins said.

Students with any major participate in the hospitality or retail paid internships at Disney resorts, Hopkins said. Even though it may not relate directly to their major, many students do them because of the opportunity to work for a well-known company.

Unlike Disney College Program, Disney Professional Internships offer specialized training highly associated with a student’s major and professional development goals, Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the internship partnership with WSU began only last year with Estes’ interest in establishing that connection.

The biggest benefit is that Estes is a WSU graduate, Hopkins said. And Estes found his way to Disney in an indirect way, which most students can relate to, she said.

“Most students do not find their career in a focused, automatic route,” Hopkins said. “I think it’s a great inspiration to students that there are many different ways to get to where they want to go.”

He spent quite a bit of time last year giving tips for resumes and tools in how to communicate a student’s personal skills with a potential employers. In particular, he’s talked about how to impress Disney internship providers, Hopkins said. It helps build student confidence.

“It’s sort of a hidden gem for Disney,” Hopkins said. “Most students are unaware that Disney actually has professional internships. And many think ‘Oh, Disney parks; that would be fun to work for’ and don’t even know they can work for Disney at one of their other companies.”

Today, Estes will visit the College of Business for class lectures, give a presentation at 3 p.m. in the Honors Hall and then act as a key-note speaker for the WSU Athletic Professional Kick-Off Dinner, according to his scheduled itinerary.

On Tuesday, Estes will visit the Murrow College of Communication and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture to visit several classes, then give his all campus presentation at 4 p.m. in Chinook Room 150, followed by an hour-long Q & A session.

Estes will conclude his WSU visit with a drop-in coffee hour at Murrow Hall Room 218, then a “no host” brown bag lunch in the CUB Room 208, according to his itinerary.

Hopkins said all of the colleges involved create the opportunity for Estes to spend time with students. They have filled several hours of time, as the college requested.

The all-campus presentation, coffee hour and brown bag lunch are open to all WSU students of all majors.

“What other type of opportunity would avail itself that a Disney executive would be available for you to ask questions for an entire hour?” Hopkins asked. “That’s a pretty awesome thing.”