16:02 PM

From Downtown to Disney: UHD Student Secures Disney Internship


By Percy Sandel

Melissa Roa may be a new first-generation transfer student at UHD, but she isn’t a first generation in her family to be a Disney fan.

Melissa Roa 1Crediting her Disney fandom to her mother, she shared, “I have loved Disney since I was a child and have always been a fan of all the characters. My mom introduced my brother and me to the world of Disney. It is truly magical.”

It is the magic of the Disney experience that has Melissa excited for her upcoming five-month internship in the Spring. The Disney College and International Program is a competitive internship that offers students and recent graduates work experience, college credit, networking, and the chance to spend a few months at the Disney park or resort.

Knowing the competitiveness of the internship program, Melissa prepared accordingly. “I did a tremendous amount of research before applying. Disney is a company that looks for people with positive and friendly attitudes. It’s known for being the most magical place on Earth and within that, the members [staff and interns] must try their best to achieve that for all the visitors.”Melissa Roa 2

Her interest in providing a magical experience for Disney guests will be complemented by her academic experience as a UHD psychology major. She offered a compassionate take on her chosen career field.

“I want to be a child psychologist. We live in a harsh world where children are adversely affected and often don’t receive treatment,” she said. “To be able to help kids learn and grow through psychology would be a step ahead at being able to help others.”

After learning about UHD in high school through Texas’ Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program—a college-preparation program designed to ensure students are academically and socially prepared for college. And of course, she visited campus and it became clear that UHD was her “top choice.”  She joined the Gator student body this Fall from San Jacinto College Central Campus.

When asked what surprised her the most about UHD, she shared, “I was most surprised by how much UHD is there for its students. When we registered, we received a school email with available opportunities to help, like to earn money, scholarships. UHD truly cares about its students. It’s nice to attend a university that is always trying to help us out.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.