Chelsea Brill ’13 (West Windsor, N.J.) and Alyson Shumeyko ’14 (Vestal, N.Y.) learned the ins and outs of Disney Consumer Products (DCP) in Glendale, Calif., during an externship over the January break with Marie Garofalo ’10, communications coordinator of internal communications at DCP.
The students observed Garofalo and her team, and contributed questions and ideas as she published articles and created a weekly newsletter for DCP employees.
“Ms. Garofalo also gave us the great opportunity to meet and greet various members of her department, including professionals in social media, event planning, and public relations,” says Shumeyko. “We participated in meetings and learned what it’s like to work within a large company such as the Walt Disney Company.”
Adds Brill, “We met such interesting, well-rounded, and passionate people during our time there.”
For Shumeyko, a double major in English and film & media studies, the externship provided a new perspective on potential career paths in public relations and film.
“I had the pleasure of meeting several individuals who had faced a similar divide in interests and I realized that it’s possible to mesh the two fields in many different ways,” she says. “I came away eager to learn more specifically about communications roles within entertainment companies to make the most of all of my interests.”
“Spending time with Ms. Garofalo was fantastic,” says Brill, a psychology major. “It was such a pleasure to work with someone so enthusiastic, passionate, driven, and focused.”
Garofalo decided to host the students because of the three externships that benefited her as a student, including stints at CNN and CNBC with Carrie Lee ’89 and Kara Boodakian ’07, respectively.
“Those experiences were phenomenal and instrumental in helping me figure out what my career path would be post-Lafayette,” says Garofalo, who joined DCP following a summer internship that resulted from an on-campus interview with the company.
While Brill is unsure of what she wants to do after she graduates, she has been drawn to advertising, marketing, and communications.
“This experience definitely helped me narrow down and refine what I want to pursue once I graduate, and also helped broaden my understanding of the communications field,” she says. “It showed me the contrast between working for a small company versus a company as large as the Walt Disney Company.”
Shumeyko hopes to work in public relations or communications within an entertainment company such as DCP after she graduates.
“This experience opened my eyes to new possibilities for my future career,” she says. “After three days, I walked away from my externship feeling enthusiastic that there is indeed a perfect job out there for me.”