interior shot of the Business Innovation Hub
Student Voices

From Florida to UMass and Back Again

The idea of dreams coming true can seem a bit cliche, but it definitely describes the experience of Grace Canzano, who turned her UMass education into an opportunity to work at Disney World.

Grace, a member of the class of 2025, chose the University of Massachusetts Amherst because it was a huge departure from her childhood home of Naples, Florida, both in terms of geography and especially the weather. In fact, one of the biggest draws to Grace was that she “had never seen snow before, so I was really excited for that.”

Upon coming to UMass, Grace did not have the best idea of what she wanted to do. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in high school … I never had a favorite class,” she said. So instead, she took a chance on business school through the prestigious Isenberg School of Management. Specifically, Grace enrolled in the hospitality and tourism management major, where students learn the ins and outs of restaurants, hotels, food distribution, and countless other aspects of the service industry.

Grace made herself at home within the HTM major through class projects like cooperating with classmates to design a coffee shop. She became very involved with related clubs, such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, where she was elected president of the UMass chapter. She is also active in the Club Management Association of America and has traveled to San Diego and Palm Beach as a member.

All of this involvement helped Grace score the crowning achievement of her time at UMass: a highly selective, half-year internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando. Working at Hollywood Studios right in the middle of the theme park, Grace beams about how “everything you do is surrounded by Disney — and you can go in the parks for free!”