K’shatriya “Shay” Humphrey was not supposed to be on her phone during class. But when the email popped up announcing her acceptance into the Disney College Program in Orlando, she could not contain her enthusiasm.
“I screamed when I saw it (the email), and my teacher looked at me like ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I just apologized,” she says, laughing.
Humphrey is the second JSU student, but the first woman from the HBCU to be selected for the five-to-seven-month program that offers “valuable, on-the-job experience.” Participants work in one of several Disney parks and resorts, engage in college courses and network with people from all over the nation while living in company housing.
The senior mass communications major says she stumbled upon the program while researching job options in light of her impending December graduation. She was drawn to Disney because “it’s a whole world where you can be imaginative.”
An aspiring television scriptwriter, Humphrey shares that she wants to tell real stories about real people. “I’m from a small town. I’m from Marks, Mississippi. I want to write stories so viewers can see what it’s really like in these small towns,” she explains, then acknowledges her desire to make a defined imprint in the television and film industry with hopes to change the negative perceptions associated with being from a small town.
A leading source of inspiration for Humphrey is actor, playwright, and filmmaker Tyler Perry. She says that the way Perry relates his work to his family is what she plans to do with her writing.
She also credits Dr. Hilliard Lackey, professor of urban higher education, for encouraging her to attend Jackson State. Humphrey explains that instead of enrolling in the university from high school she decided Northwest Mississippi Community College could better prepare her for experience at a larger institution. After receiving a two-year degree in broadcast journalism, she received a Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship to JSU.
“I came in 2017. I really like the networking opportunities, joining a sorority (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.) and the lifelong relationships that I have created here,” she says.
While waiting to hear back from the iconic creators of Mickey Mouse, Humphrey says she connected with past program participants on LinkedIn. “They said it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and if I get it, I should take it.”
It would appear that the senior knows good advice when she receives it. In late January 2019, Humphrey heads to Orlando to begin her magical adventure in Disney World.