Disney dream comes true for engineering students

Disney Imaginations finalists accept internships with company

Disney dream comes true for engineering students

Disney Imaginations finalists accept internships with company

This semester, a student team of three senior students from the University of Nevada, Reno was selected as one of the top six finalists  teams by Walt Disney Imagineering for the 24th Imaginations competition. Their Disney journey continues as all three College of Engineering students have accepted internships with the magical company.

Nolan Nicholson and Gabbi Bachand received internships at Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development in Glendale, Calif. and Andrew McNeilly received an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Nicholson will be working on materials chemistry for future projects in the parks as an Advanced Development intern.

"This is an opportunity that I never thought I'd have and one that I'm extremely excited to make the most of," Nicholson, a chemical engineering major and National Merit Scholar, said. "When we visited Glendale in January for the competition, I was absolutely enchanted not only by Imagineering as a place, but by the talent and creative vigor of the Imagineers themselves. I'm ecstatic that I'll soon have the chance to learn from that environment and contribute to it."

Bachand's internship at Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development is focused in the Sustainability team where she will be researching and implementing more lasting, environmentally-conscience solutions for the company.

"I am incredibly excited to be working with Imagineering, it's an opportunity I've always wanted," Bachand, who is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in art, said.  "When in Glendale, I was amazed to learn how much Imagineering blends art and science; both areas are not only equally valued but are intertwined. Being an engineer and an artist, this environment means the world to me, and I can't wait to be a part of it."

Both Nicholson and Bachand will be starting their internship May 26.

Andrew McNeilly, a mechanical engineering major, accepted a position at Creative Development Project Service Management at Walt Disney World in Orlando. He will be developing project management for all four Walt Disney World parks and the two water parks.

"I cannot believe that I'll be starting my Disney career straight out of the University," McNeilly said. "It's more than just a dream come true; I have wanted to be an Imagineer since high school. Before that, I had always wanted to be a world famous Jungle Cruise Skipper.

McNeilly is no stranger to Walt Disney World. In 2012, he was offered a position to work as a Skipper with the Disney College Program. This experience and the 2015 Imaginations competition have prepared him for his new career.

"During my time on the College Program, I took advantage of every engineering and imagineering development opportunity that the company had to offer," McNeilly said. "From networking around the complexes to participating in Disney's Ultimate Engineering Exploration and the Professional Engineering Development course."

McNeilly enjoyed working for the company so much that he continued to work for Disney in a seasonal worker every year after his College Program internship ended. McNeilly will be moving to Florida May 16, the day after graduation, and will start his new position as an Imagineer May 18.

For more information about the Disney Imaginations contest, visit www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2015/students-go-to-disney-finals.

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