For sophomore marketing student Aliyah Lynch, the name Disney has always represented her childhood. Now on the cusp of an internship in the franchise’s Orlando-based headquarters, it’s taking on a new meaning.
Lynch was recently named as one of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Disney Corporate Scholars — a program that provides students from four-year universities across the country, including Historically Black Colleges and Unversities (HBCUs), with a $5,000 annual scholarship and a paid internship with the Walt Disney Company.
“One day my mom looked at me and asked, ‘If you could work anywhere, where would it be?’” Lynch said. “My obvious answer was Disney, so I began researching internship opportunities. When I came across this one for diverse interns, I figured I’d give it a shot.”
Lynch is one of 21 students in the United States chosen for the program. She began her application in late October 2021, but didn’t officially earn her spot until February 2022, a five-month process that Lynch refered to as draining – but worth it.
During her time in Orlando, Lynch will be putting her marketing skills – hard-earned at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics – to the test. She’ll be working for their Disney Media Entertainment Distribution (DMED) while concentrating on advertising sales and media distribution.
“It’s incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to work directly under those who have gotten Disney from point A to point Z,” Lynch said.
The UNCF Corporate Scholar program will provide Lynch with an assigned mentor that will show her the ropes of advertising and social media campaigns in the Disney office. Though her internship will come to an end in August 2022, UNCF will continue to provide Lynch and her fellow Disney Corporate Scholars with scholarship money for each year of their college career.
“I really do think UNCF plays such a big role in helping black students and minorities feel seen and heard in the entertainment industry where you really don’t see much diversity,” Lynch said. “The organization as a whole is just amazing.”
With professional development skills from all four Blueprint Series courses and marketing knowledge from MKT324 under her belt, Lynch heads to Orlando in June. She credits her time in the Bryan School for developing the skills needed to land the internship and excel.
“Of course, there’s so much to learn this summer and beyond, but I feel more than prepared to take it on. I’m grateful to the Bryan School for that,” Lynch said.
While Lynch will be spending a lot of time in the Walt Disney corporate office, she said she fully intends on hitting the parks to let her inner child roam free. As for her favorite Disney character?
“Winnie the Pooh is everything,” Lynch said with a smile. “He doesn’t care about anything else but his honey.”