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Disney World Engineers Help Students Win STEM Prize


Disney’s Community involvement results in a ton of great stories. It’s always been my pleasure to share how support from The Mouse is helping an endangered species, cleaning the environment, or helping a non-profit. Today’s story focuses on Disney’s efforts to promote the the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Students coached by Disney engineers took home the top honors from the 14th annual College Bowl during the HENAAC conference in New Orleans. One highlight from the annual conference held by Great Minds in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) was the team’s creation of a fantastical magic carpet model designed during a timed challenge.

Great Minds in STEM hosts the HENAAC College Bowl each year to encourage and recognize a new generation of STEM talent and help create a diverse workforce. The conference includes seminars, networking, internship and recruitment opportunities for attendees.

Hundreds of students participated in the competition that lived up to its motto: “Not for the Faint of Heart!” Industry and government representatives critique teams on their communication, teamwork and leadership skills. Each round of the competition focuses on topics related to career success, including resume writing, presentation skills and creativity.

The three Disney engineers who coached the winning team, Marissa Suarez, Jose Corpuz and Tony Ramiz, work at Walt Disney World Resort and for four years have volunteered to coach students during the two-day event.

“The college bowl is a great opportunity for students to work on relationship building, communication and creativity,” said Cast Member Corpuz, a systems engineer. “These skills, combined with their technical knowledge, will help them excel in their careers.”

Students compete in a lightning round of interviews with coaches for a spot on the team. The Disney team competed against students coached by professionals from IBM, NASA, Boeing and other organizations.

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts team included students from Florida A&M University, University of New Mexico, University of Texas, California State University, Texas A&M University, University of New Orleans, El Camino College and Rochester Institute of Technology.