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Caitlyn Rei: A Lion in the House of Mouse

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,” read Class of 2017 graduate Caitlyn Rei’s grad cap. The Santa Rosa, Calif. native plans to make that declaration a reality come August when she ventures to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. to take part in the Disney College Program – a six-month, paid internship that will school her in everything under the House of Mouse, with an emphasis on merchandising.

“It should be a great resume builder and channel to professional opportunities,” Caitlyn said. “A resume that has Disney on it really stands out to people.”

In addition to working at the actual amusement parks, Caitlyn will be taking workshops in marketing and branding, resume building and a Disney history class. She first learned of the program through a friend who participated and is now well on her way to becoming a Disney Imagineer.

Caitlyn, who received her bachelor’s degree in English, believes her time at LMU prepared her for success in the Disney Program and beyond. In particular, the leadership skills she acquired.

“I think LMU does a really great job of individualizing everyone’s experience,” Caitlyn said. “I never felt like a number; I always felt like a valued member of the community.”

Originally drawn to LMU for its nationally-recognized academic programs and small class sizes, Caitlyn says something just clicked when she first came to visit campus.

“There was the sense that I would be missing something in my life if I wasn’t here,” Caitlyn said. “It just seemed like everyone was really happy, so welcoming and friendly. I wanted to be in a place that offered that sort of acceptance and spirit.”

Among Caitlyn’s many campus pursuits, she took part in the Ignatian Leadership Institute, sang in the Campus Ministry choir and is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Additionally, she journeyed on several Alternative Break trips with the Center for Service and Action, such as to Puerto Rico, where she and classmates worked on a farm and sought to develop a deeper appreciation for the environment and sustainability.

Looking ahead, Caitlyn’s end-goal is to one day be a writer.

“Writing is what calms me down and makes me feel my best,” she said.

As for what advice she has for incoming Lions?

“Don’t be scared,” Caitlyn said. “Meet as many new people as possible – the people at LMU are really special.”