What does Shenandoah University have in common with the happiest place on Earth? It’s where one future CEO trains to make her dreams come true.
Jenna Rampale ’19, a junior business major from Chicago, Illinois, has a big dream. She wants to become the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, and she’s not leaving it up to wishing upon a star. She is chasing her dream with the single-minded tenacity of a Disney heroine, majoring in business administration (BBA) with a minor in international studies and two concentrations in international business and information systems and technologies. The passionate junior isn’t stopping there; she’s staying for an extra year to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA), too.
Shenandoah’s BBA program teaches you a lot and gives you a lot of opportunities. I went to Madrid my freshman year to learn about international business, and I’m at the Olympics in South Korea this semester, so I’m learning even more on an international scale. At Shenandoah, you learn how things happen, and you’re asked ‘What would you fix?’ It’s an education for real life, and because of that, I feel prepared.”
Rampale’s work ethic stems from her parents. “My dad has been going back to school since I was in second grade,” said Rampale. “Seeing that at a young age was incredibly impactful for me. It made me think, ‘Well, if my dad can do it, why can’t I?’ Both of my parents have invested a lot into my future, so I feel like I need to give back and show them that all their hard work wasn’t for nothing. I don’t take the opportunities they’ve given me for granted.”
Family and community play a huge role in Rampale’s life, which is also where the love of Disney originated. “It’s been a big part of my family,” she explained. “My parents got engaged in the Japanese Pavilion at EPCOT. It’s where I took my first steps. Disney has been a part of a lot of ‘firsts’ for my family.”
Rampale also completed two internships at Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida, through Disney’s College Program. Since Disney has provided many, many happy memories for Rampale, she is determined to provide others with happy memories. The internships are just the beginning.
The Walt Disney Company, over the course of history, has debuted many firsts. They’ve been a leader in the entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries, and I want to be a part of that. I also want to help create memories for people, whether that be through the movies, theme parks or resorts.”
The sense of family and community she felt at Disney also drew Rampale to Shenandoah.
At Disney, whether you’re a guest or a cast member, everyone is very welcoming. There is such a close-knit feeling there, and I feel that here at Shenandoah, too. I like having personal, one-on-one relationships with professors. It’s so nice to be part of a smaller community. I feel that sense of family here.”
Jenna’s not the only Shenandoah student with a passion for Disney—Many SU students and alumni gain work experience in Walt Disney World.
In the fall 2017 semester these Shenandoah alumni were working in the happiest place on Earth.
- Robin Chinn ’15 | Musical Theatre
- Ellen Sena ’16 | Musical Theatre
- Kacey Willis ’15 | Musical Theatre
- Michele Boyd ’15, ’16 | Dance
- Allie Galati ’17 | Business Administration
- Kamryn Burton ’17 | Musical Theatre
- Seth Walker ’16 | Musical Theatre
Shenandoah students don’t have to wish upon stars to make their dreams come true. They graduate with the skills they need to forge careers with entertainment giants like Disney.
Shenandoah’s Office of Career Services is an amazing resource for students like Jenna who are applying for Disney’s College Program and are trying to land their dream job.