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How a Disney Aspire Grad Psyched His Way Into a Dream Career

Krystal Rhaburn

by , Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Although educational pursuits do not always directly coincide with professional careers, it can be quite a dream come true when they do. Earlier this year, Donovan Marcotte transitioned from his role at the Disneyland Resort into a corporate role with Disney as a learning and development coordinator – a career development he attributes to his experiences and knowledge gained through the Disney Aspire program. 

Donovan joined the Disneyland Resort as a character performer in 2012 and advanced into various leadership roles. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in industry and organizational psychology from UMass Global through Disney Aspire, which pays full tuition up front and reimburses fees for eligible hourly cast.

“I decided to enroll in Disney Aspire in 2018 and study psychology, as it was something that always really interested me,” Donovan said. “The program was all about applying psychological theories and concepts into the workplace in terms of how to increase productivity and how to understand and lead teams.”

Donovan’s interest in psychology led him to pursue a dual master’s degree in marriage & family therapy and professional clinical counseling, also through Disney Aspire. He is grateful to constantly witness the direct impact of his educational journey on his career.

“I was told that my psychology background made me stand out in the application process for my current role, as it was unique compared to other applicants with backgrounds in education or organizational leadership,” shared Donovan. 

As a learning and development coordinator, Donovan aspires to use the skills he is gaining in school in his daily responsibilities in a truly impactful way. That motivation is fueled by his passion for mental health awareness, which he has been able to hone in on through his master’s program.

“There’s such a need right now for mental health services for everyone,” said Donovan. “My team does a lot of content creation for orientation and leadership training across the company, and I would love to see continued actions of not only acknowledging mental health and mental health education, but really leaning on that to drive the curriculum, how we train people and how we develop people to be leaders.”

Some of the specific areas Donovan is most passionate about include emotional intelligence, negative self-talk and related obstacles that people deal with at work. He looks forward to the opportunity to continue applying practical use of his studies throughout his career.

“Disney Aspire made it possible for me to continue an education that I truly did not think was ever going to be achievable,” Donovan shared. “I’m so excited to see where the program goes from here and its future impact on cast members.”

Disney Aspire is the most comprehensive education investment program of its kind, offering 125+ programs at a network of educational institutions nationwide. As part of The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to supporting its employees and cast members, Disney Aspire puts #DreamsWithinReach by removing key barriers to enrollment and inspiring career mobility. For more information about Disney Aspire, or to sign up, eligible Disney employees and cast members can visit aspire.disney.com.

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