Professional Intern spotlight: Lauren Ritter, marine conservation education

Tell me about your Disney story. What inspired you to pursue an internship with The Walt Disney Company? 
I started coming to Disney when I was 18 months old. We came every other year growing up. I have always loved Walt Disney World® Resort and everything the company stands for.

One of my close friends did the Disney College Program. I came to visit her spring break of my sophomore year, and she talked me into applying for my first College Program while sitting on Main Street. I was accepted for fall 2015 as a character attendant at Magic Kingdom Park. It was a magical five months, and I loved every minute of it.  

I had to go home and finish my degree, but knew I loved the company, so I came back for the Summer Alumni program in 2017 and was a lifeguard at All Star Music. Again, I went back to school and graduated in December 2017. Now I am a Professional Intern doing the Marine Conservation Education Internship!  

What does a typical day in the life look like in your position?
I am a Marine Conservation Education Intern at The Seas with Nemo and Friends. A typical day at my job is that we show up and are given a rotation for the day. We typically spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes in differing locations throughout The Seas with a biofact (an item of our choosing to take out). At each location we talk with guests about the animals in the aquarium and always try to educate the guests about different conservation issues. We also typically have a microphone presentation whether it’s fish feed, lockout or matching or a combination.  

What tips would you give to someone applying for an internship with your team?
Definitely having experience public speaking is key. Also having some knowledge of marine life and aquariums will be beneficial since we utilize that every single day. 

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned as a Professional Intern?
I have become much more confident talking in front of people, especially on a microphone. I have also learned a lot about conservation. I always knew a little about it but never to the scale that I have learned on this team. It has caused me to change a lot of my personal habits and really try to impress to friends, family, and guests how they can make a difference as well. A few small changes can make huge a difference in terms of conservation. 

How would you describe your team?
My team is incredible. We are like a family. They are very accommodating and understanding of any and all situations. They have given me so much advice on not just my role, but life, and I could never thank them enough for all they have done for me. 

What is the most exciting opportunity you’ve had so far?
I’ve had a few amazing moments. They allowed all of the interns to participate in the Dolphins In Depth program our team does. I got to hold two of our Disney Dolphins and get a picture with them. I literally cried. I also had the opportunity to shadow a Marine Mammal Intern for half a day. This was very cool to see what they do and all the hard work that goes into the care of our Dolphins and Manatees. I also got the chance to be trained on giving backstage tours at The Seas. I love when I get to do these because I get to share so much about how detailed the care our animals receive and how incredible our facility is.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?
I have had the chance to help create a new presentation we have just recently started doing regularly. Through a collaboration of many people and teams, we have put together a presentation about the matching game our dolphins play, but instead we play it with Guests. I even got to be the tester of this and have gotten so much experience in problem solving and editing scripts. I help teach this presentation to my colleagues. I think it is so cool something I helped create will soon be a daily presentation current and future interns will do. 

Tell me about what drives you to succeed in your role.
A passion for what you are talking about all day is definitely what drives you in this role. Often you get the same questions over and over again and knowing why you do your job and answer those questions is what pushes you. I know every time I tell someone about Sea Turtles I could be saving a Sea Turtle’s life. I love what I do and I know I am making a difference. 

Which Disney character do you relate the most to? Why?
Rapunzel. She wasn’t afraid to chase her dream and I’m not afraid to chase mine. It may get difficult and scary at times but you know you can do it. I admire her courage and trustfulness. I also love adventures, the outdoors and hate shoes.