5 Years of Disney Aspire: Celebrating a Cast Member Who Defied the Odds

Courtney Buohl

by , Sr. Communications Specialist, Employee Communications

Did you know this year marks Disney Aspire’s 5th anniversary? Over the past five years, more than 3,800 students have graduated and countless dreams have come true. We’re celebrating all our participants, past and present, including one incredible graduate.

Karen White, a vacation advisor at Walt Disney World Resort, first enrolled in Disney Aspire back in January 2020 in hopes of making her lifelong dream of furthering her education come true. In her 12 years at Disney, she had never been more excited for an opportunity to chase this dream. However, after finishing her first course, she received news that would change everything – a stage three cancer diagnosis.

“I was devastated because this degree had been my dream for my entire adult life.”

However, with support from Disney Aspire, her family and her medical care team, she continued on with her degree.

“I pushed through medical treatments. I lost my hair. But I could still write and I wrote myself all the way to a 3.945 average.”

Fast forward to present day, Karen is not only in remission but also completed her degree at Southern New Hampshire University. “Disney Aspire gave me something to focus on besides fear,” said Karen. “I am so incredibly proud and grateful. I would not have made it without Disney Aspire.”

Find out more about Karen’s story and how she defied the odds while making her dreams come true:

To learn how Disney Aspire puts cast members’ and employees’ #DreamsWithinReach, visit aspire.disney.com.

Disney Aspire is the most comprehensive education investment program of its kind, offering 150+ programs at a network of educational institutions nationwide. As part of The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to investing in its employees and cast members, Disney Aspire puts #DreamsWithinReach by removing key barriers to pursuing education and inspiring career mobility.


  • Congratulations!

  • Congratulations!

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