News from The Mahurin Honors College
Bria Garvin Spotlight
- Sydney Windhorst
- Friday, October 7th, 2022
The Mahurin Honors College (MHC) wants every scholar to have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a field they love during their college career. For some scholars, internships are the most logical way to explore their future career. For Bria Garvin (MHC ‘23) though, she desired something a little more magical.
The Disney College Program (DCP) is a United States national internship under The Walt Disney Company, located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. While tens of thousands of students across the world apply, only about 20% are accepted. The DCP offers students a combination of on-the-job experience, college coursework, and immersion into the Disney experience.
The DCP has been a dream of Bria’s for quite some time, so she decided to apply as a first-year scholar. Unfortunately, she was not offered the internship during her first year, so Bria instead resolved to pour herself into campus life. Bria has served in roles with the HonorsTopper organization and is a member/retired VP of the National Society of Leadership and Success. When talking about involvement though, Bria points to the MHC Scholars of Color as one of the activities on campus she cherishes most.
“The MHC Scholars of Color (SOC) is a supportive social and academic community for multicultural scholars and allies. Its goal is to help provide multicultural scholars with relationships to promote academic or social health or even just to talk about all the things that are going on in our world. I helped found SOC and felt that people needed a place where they felt safe and heard to talk about different issues that are going on in their life, or how to cope with the things they're seeing. As an organization, we want to break down barriers and try to grow and foster the diversity within the MHC.”
Flash-forward to her junior year and Bria on a whim applied once more to the DCP. Not even a week later, she was offered a position to join for the next semester.
“Being selected as a part of the DCP was honestly a complete shock. I applied with no expectations and all of a sudden this great opportunity was presented to me. I was actually going to deny it at first because of the expense and the intimidation of embarking out on my own.”
With the advice of her family and trusted mentors within the MHC, Bria accepted the offer and began her Disney journey Spring of 2022. “I spent this summer working on the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run and Gallery. It was such a precious opportunity to invest my time in Disney and make magic for people.”
But how does being a member of the Disney College Program help equip Bria for success with her paralegal studies and forensic psychology aspirations?
“The DCP has taught me so many foundational properties of success such as leadership, determination, but most importantly, people skills.” Enduring the harsh Florida sun can sometimes make Disney guests slightly irritable. Bria explains how she balances understanding their frustration while giving them actionable solutions. “Sometimes you must find a backbone and take charge of a situation, but other times you must be gracious enough to reach a compromise.”
While the Disney College Program may not be a part of your journey, Bria firmly believes internships are a vital component to becoming a well-rounded and successful scholar.
“Many internships can be wonderful ways to immerse yourself in your career path, but I think that they also provide an option to pursue not only career passions, but personal passions. Musical theater, dancing, and singing are some of my biggest personal passions, and it is something that I aggressively pursued in high school. When I got to college, I decided I was not dedicated enough to do musical theater and be on Broadway. That's just not my dream. I found different career goals and aspirations that are totally opposite to my personal dreams. It was very hard to learn how to accept that side of myself because I felt like I was letting down my professional side.”
Bria says it was a conversation with Dr. Craig T. Cobane, Executive Director of the MHC, that helped her work through her conflicting passions regarding the DCP.
“Dr. C. listened to me and heard me out about how I was feeling. He said ‘If you love Disney, go to Disney. You have the rest of your life to do other things. If this is something you want to do now then go do it, Bria. That's fine. You can come back to school and do forensic psychology and paralegal studies, but you're only going to be in college once.’ Turns out he was right! I truly love school, but it can be taxing, so I realized I need to prioritize my mental health and allow myself a break. Taking a gap semester to do Disney is something that makes me happy and gives me a platform for my personal passions.”
Bria, we are so proud of what you did during your semester away with the Disney College Program! We are so glad you are back on campus and are forever eager to support you no matter where you are!