Since 2010, Valpo students have traveled to Disney Resorts in Orlando and Anaheim, California, to participate in workshops, tours, and lectures as part of their classes. Led by Mark Budnik, Ph.D., the Paul H. Brandt Professor in Engineering, this partnership provides students with unique insight and access to the Disney operation.
“The program began as an opportunity for students to experience engineering outside of a standard field trip and has progressed into a unique partnership between
Valpo and Disney,” Professor Budnik says. “It allows our students to learn firsthand about Disney’s approach to creativity, leadership, and innovation.”
The program now operates with permanent support from the Nils Lindfors Endowed Disney Internship Fund. The fund was established by Nils Lindfors ’58, who earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Valpo.
“Engineers have always been imaginative and creative, but they also need a larger portion of entrepreneurial collab- oration in order to succeed in today’s world,” Nils says. “I support the Disney internship program as it embodies the qualities and tools that engineers need to be success- ful and enjoy a lifelong, satisfying profession.”
After hearing about the exciting experiences of his friends and classmates, Chase Greenhagen ’17 decided to enroll in the elective course. “It was one of the most applicable and by far the most memorable class I took at Valpo,” Chase says. “It emphasized creative and out-of-the-box solutions in a way unlike any other engineering class.”
Nearly 200 students have participated in the five-day Disney trip, which takes place about halfway through the semester and features a mix of classes, behind- the-scenes tours, and meetings with Disney executives. Working in one of the most creative environments on earth, students can develop their skill sets and learn about the engineering design process.