Kent State Trumbull Student Majoring in Communication Studies Heads to Magic Kingdom for Internship
Anything your heart desires will come to you, especially if you put in the work. Just ask Sarah Heavner of Kent State University at Trumbull.
Ms. Heavner, who is majoring in communication studies and minoring in theatre, recently earned an internship with Walt Disney World for this coming fall. While there, she will dress and play the role of a costumed character on one of the largest stages in the world, Disney World.
At LaBrae High School, she dreamed of becoming an actor. Even though she had spent years participating in front of crowds in cheer, dance and gymnastics, she lacked confidence to act on stage.
“It has always been something I wanted to do but never had self-assurance,” Ms. Heavner says. “My second semester at Kent State Trumbull, friends and family encouraged me to audition for the play Children’s Hour. I auditioned and got the role. By my second or third rehearsal, I knew this was for me.”
Since then, she has been in many more Kent State Trumbull Theatre productions, whether she was on stage, building sets or in the technical booth.
Last year, Eric Kildow, theatre director and assistant professor at Kent State Trumbull, mentioned to her that Disney has internships. Ms. Heavner began researching and set out to land one of the great opportunities.
“I watched a ton of YouTube tutorials on the different jobs and how to audition,” she says. “I applied a little late, and they denied me for this spring.
In February, Ms. Heavner visited friends in Florida, and they drove to Orlando for face-character auditions.
“Initial judging heavily relied on physical attributes more than acting because we would be playing Disney princesses,” she says. “I was among hundreds of applicants. Therefore, I smiled, did my best, but did not make the final cut. It was still a fantastic experience.”
In April, she found auditions in Michigan. Disney was casting costumed characters with different height ranges. Ms. Heavner’s cheer, dance and gymnastic experience paid off as auditions included dance and animated exercises.
Two weeks later, Disney sent her an email telling her that she would be a costumed-character performer this coming fall semester. She is not sure what character she will perform as. However, she knows she will be in Mickey’s group. She hopes her height (4 feet, 11 inches), acting skills and abundance of energy puts her under the mouse ears as Mickey or Minnie.
“I am so excited,” Ms. Heavner says. “Our housing is amazing and includes a pool and gym. When I’m not working, I can go to any of the Disney parks for free.”
Ms. Heavner plans to enjoy every minute of this meaningful experience. She will then come home to finish her degree by fall 2019 and continue to pursue acting in film and TV.
(This article first appeared in e-Inside on July 16, 2018 and has been edited for this website.)