Alum meeting needs of international Disney employees
Even as a freshman, Ashleigh Mizner ’21 would pop in the office of Stephanie LeVan, director of the Global Education Center, and remind LeVan she wanted to study abroad and find out what her next steps were.
Mizner, a political science major and family communication minor, did indeed study abroad in spring 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. She also was selected as the first Charleston Southern student and the first in the Charleston region to receive a national scholarship to attend the national conference for the World Affairs Councils of America. According to their website, “The World Affairs Councils of America is an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to engaging the public and leading global voices.”
“Coming from a household where I’m a first generation college graduate, first generation of studying abroad, really first of a lot, it is mind blowing to have had the opportunity,” said Mizner. “It’s amazing to know that I got to represent Charleston Southern University, and to represent Charleston and South Carolina, as well, and to have such a supportive faculty that had faith in me.”
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty unanimously nominated Mizner for the WACA scholarship after LeVan, who is a board member of the World Affairs Council Charleston, asked the faculty to nominate a student. Mizner received one of the 14 scholarships awarded nationally.
She said, “The conference encompassed a multitude of topics involving international issues, including U.S. and China relations, U.S. and Russia relations, age of technology, democracy abroad and in the states, and global warming.” Although Mizner learned many things at the conference, she said the biggest take-away was learning the value of networking and learning to understand your cohorts. “I gained more confidence in how to approach people, and I learned the importance of perseverance,” she said.
Mizner’s intention after graduation was to study for law school entrance, but she was accepted into the Disney College Program, relocated to Florida, and used her communication minor in day-to-day activities as well as her political science major while meeting people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. She also put her networking skills to work to apply for a position with the Disney company.
After the Disney College Program ended, Mizner went to work for Disney and helped open a new location. She is currently working with the Disney immigration compliance team processing J and Q1 visas for all internationals working for Disney. She was also selected for a Master of Legal Studies degree program through Purdue’s Global University fully funded by Disney.
Mizner said, “I’ve continued my involvement with international matters by providing talks with internationals staying at the provided housing on Disney property to help them combat homesickness.”
Her involvement with the World Affairs Council has had to take a back seat at this time in her career, but Mizner is getting connected with World Affairs Council Orlando, enjoying her career, and looking forward to a bright future.