Friday, December 15, 2017

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SDSU students at The Walt Disney Studios SDSU students at The Walt Disney Studios
 


A Visit to Disney Studios

Twelve SDSU students recently had the opportunity to network with fellow Aztecs in the entertainment industry.
By Katie White
 

“My colleagues were excited to know SDSU was making an effort to connect to our workplace and many fellow alumni felt re-connected to SDSU after the event.”

A dozen San Diego State University students recently had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.

Students joined SDSU alumni employed at Disney companies, including The Walt Disney Studios, ABC Television and ESPN, for lunch and networking, followed by a tour of Disney’s virtual reality lab and studio lot.

The 12 students are enrolled in a variety of majors including marketing, business and theatre, television and film. They were selected for this unique opportunity by the heads of their respective schools in collaboration with the Aztec Mentor Program.

“We all wanted to participate because we knew it would be a fun experience, and an opportunity to network and get some advice and inspiration from  fellow Aztecs,” said Beatrice Collins, graduate student in SDSU’s Costume Design and Technology program in the Theatre, Television and Film department. “It was a great experience to talk and connect with new people who are working in the field.”

The trip was funded by a donation from alumnus Rich Iazzetta (‘86), senior vice president and general manager West of the Disney/ABC Television Group.

Aztec proud in Disney

SDSU is well-represented at Disney, with more than 100 alumni working at the Burbank location in a variety of jobs, including licensing, marketing, “imagineering” and film production.

For SDSU alumni, including Scott Hollestelle (‘90), who organized the visit, the day not only allowed him to give back to their alma mater, but also connect with fellow Aztecs in his workplace.

“Many of us wished this type of opportunity was available to us when we were students,” said Hollestelle, executive director of business development and strategic partnerships at The Walt Disney Studios. “My colleagues were excited to know SDSU was making an effort to connect to our workplace and many fellow alumni felt re-connected to SDSU after the event.”
SDSU students and alumni gather for a photo at Walt Disney Studios
SDSU students and alumni gather for a photo at The Walt Disney Studios.
Hollestelle provided some real-world advice during the networking luncheon and also had a relevant piece of advice on networking that could apply to students and recent grads in any field.

“Network and find something in common with those you meet that’s not work-related and then strengthen your connection via that common bond,” said Hollestelle. “SDSU has been that bond for me with some of the alumni in attendance.”

Collins, who is collaborating with several current students on a submission for the Disney Imagineers Competition, walked away inspired, not only for the contest submission—but her overall career path.

“Many of the alumni spoke of heading down various paths and following different opportunities before they got to where they are now,” said Collins. “It was nice to know that even if you don’t go directly to where you want to go, there is always the chance of making it there in the long run.”