5 Remarkable Women Impacting Disney Animals Who’ll Inspire You

Dr. Mark Penning

by , Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

The smallest plant and largest elephant have a lot in common at Walt Disney World … they both receive world-class care from Disney cast members, many of whom are women.

Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team is made up of more than 1,000 cast members, and many of those cast are women. These women are veterinarians, animal keepers, endocrinologists, marine biologists, plant scientists, ranch hands and so much more. Their expertise makes our resort a leader in conservation and a respected member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Many of our women experts come from different backgrounds and different disciplines but share the common goal of making our world a better place for us and for wildlife, on land and sea. Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ll be spotlighting each of these women as they share more about their inspiring Disney careers, as one Animal Care Manager reminds us of the power of influence on this International Women’s Day!

Dee is an Animal Care Manager for some of the marine life at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at EPCOT.

She works hand in hand with her team to keep the animals under her care healthy and happy. Together with her team, they invest a lot of time in building trust with a variety of animals, from the very first encounter – like the newborn eagle ray they trained to eat on its own, a major milestone for a baby ray. An accomplishment that Dee and her team attribute to the trust they work so hard to earn!

Her love for conservation runs deep and is attributed to mentors who came before her and shared her passion for animal care.

“Growing up I was surrounded by smart, science-minded women, like my mother and grandmothers, who didn’t get the opportunity to go to college. I work hard every day to make them proud, and to try to be an inspiration for young girls interested in marine science,” said Dee.

Like Dee, Laura, a plant scientist, spreads the news every day about the importance of agriculture while also inspiring young guests’ minds. During her Disney career, she has trained and guided 438 interns.

Or Ruby, a ranch hand at Tri-Circle-D Ranch! Who’s love and passion for horses stems from her childhood horse, a Percheron her mother gifted her.

Katie has that same love and passion. She shares inspiring wildlife stories with our guests and takes great pride in her peers’ efforts. “I love that Disney devotes so many resources to conservation and provides us with opportunities to personally get involved,” said Katie “I truly feel blessed to be a part of this amazing team.”

One long-time leader who inspires many around her is Chris! As an Animal Care Manager, she leads a team of people who are continuously discovering ways of providing the best possible care for our animals. This care ranges from how their lives can be enriched to training them to participate in their own medical exams, all for their overall well-being.

Dee, Laura, Ruby, Katie and Chris are just a few examples of the many women who help make a difference in the lives of our animals and the environment.

Visit Dr. Mark’s Instagram or Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Facebook to follow along!

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