How one MSUM grad’s dreams came true

By Meghan Feir

It’s not uncommon for people to have dream jobs. What is rare is to have the wishes your heart makes come to fruition. MSUM alumna Brittany Dunnigan (mass communications) ’15, realized it would take faith, trust and a whole lot of hard work to make her dreams come true.

Since childhood, Dunnigan wanted to be part of the world of The Walt Disney Company. Giving up is for rookies, and Dunnigan, having one Disney internship and the Disney College Program already under her belt, knew she wanted to continue working toward her dream internship with the Disney public relations team.

“I do not remember a time when I was not interested in working for Disney,” Dunnigan said. “When I was little, I wanted to be a Disney Princess. As my interests evolved, I started leaning toward working corporate for Disney, being behind the scenes of the magic.”

BrittanyCompleting the Disney College Program in fall 2013, Dunnigan decided to stay in Florida one more semester to participate in her first Disney Professional Internship with Walt Disney World Internal Communications on their global strategy and integration team.

As with any job, not every day was chock-full of pixie dust and magic, but her fellow Cast Members made each day worthwhile. “The Cast (coworkers) I was blessed to work with during my time with The Walt Disney Company truly made the place into the most magical place on earth. The parks are incredible, but it’s the people that make the magic.”

Although the internship kept her on her toes, Dunnigan made time to explore the wonders of Walt Disney World and was a weekly audience member for the stage production of “Beauty and the Beast” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “I was frequently in the audience. The Gaston knew me. Not ashamed.”

Once Dunnigan returned to MSUM for school in 2014 for her senior year, she knew Disney was where she wanted to end up after graduating.

“After spending a year there, it was almost hard to go back to reality,” Dunnigan said. “It really is its own little magical place. I worked extremely hard last year to get back into the company. The second I left, I wanted to go back.”

As a determined, prepared senior, she started applying early for post-graduation internships with The Walt Disney Company in January of 2015. And, after months of hoping, waiting and wishing on stars, she received the call that contained both relief and excitement; it was an internship offer.

“I felt an array of emotions at that moment – excitement, relief, but mostly gratitude,” Dunnigan said. “I was grateful for the opportunity, and grateful to everyone who supported me along the way. I will never forget that day.”

Attributing the refining of many skills to her time at MSUM, Dunnigan said, “My experience at MSUM is why I was able to get into the college program and both of these professional internships. It started with talking to faculty. Mark Strand is no longer teaching anymore, but he was my advisor. I talked to Mark and said, ‘I want to work for Disney,’ and he’s like, ‘Brittany, it’s nice to meet you, too.’ He helped me get on the right path, network and get in touch with the right people who could help me develop those communication skills before applying for the positions.”

Internships, student groups, such as the Public Relations Student Society of America, and classes all helped hone and enhance Dunnigan’s repertoire of skills and prepared her for the opportunities waiting just around the bend.

“Take advantage of absolutely every opportunity you have to develop yourself as a professional and as a person,” Dunnigan said. “Every single step along the way is important. It’s absolutely incredible how much you can gain from just saying yes to one opportunity.”

Dunnigan’s favorite Disney movie:

“Oh, that’s easy. Actually, it’s not easy. My favorite Disney character is Peter Pan. I love his whole never-grow-up mentality, and the movie was really special to Walt Disney when he made it. I love the story and history behind the film. My favorite Disney movie, however, is ‘Beauty and the Beast.'”

Favorite Disney song:

“It probably would be ‘Belle.’ It’s the very first song in ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I can sing it front to back in every single character voice.”

Favorite princess:

“Belle.”

Favorite Disney attraction:

“Peter Pan’s Flight.”

Favorite Disney food:

“Dole Whip.”