Student Stories: Horticulture intern manicures Disney World grounds

March 18, 2009

Looking back, it was no Mickey Mouse job, said Kim Oellerich, a Horticulture major in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. But she learned a lot and had a great time interning at Disney World and Epcot Center in Florida.

"I'm really glad I went because it was a life-changing experience," said the senior from Matamoras, Pa., who will carry the Horticulture Department's flag in her class's commencement ceremony this spring.

As part of the internship, Oellerich spent 40 hours a week working in Epcot and three resorts surrounding the park. During her time at Disney, she did many different tasks. "We worked on different crews," said Oellerich. "We had turf crews, shrub crews and yacht- and beach-club maintenance crews. I worked on all of them. I mowed lawns, took care of flower beds and garden ponds and cleaned up around the resorts."

Working in the park, Oellerich gained a real-world horticultural perspective that she believes will benefit her career. But it wasn't all work, and she spent time with interns who came from different countries, such as Haiti, England and Ecuador. "I met many different people from different backgrounds," she said. "Everyone was really nice. The kids from Haiti even taught me how to speak some French Creole."

In her free time, Kim went to the Disney parks with her new friends. "We had free passes to Disney, so most of the interns would just hang out at the parks."


  • Kim Oellerich trims a topiary at Disney World.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010