Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Palagano ’19 (BFA Design/Technology)

Posted Mar 11, 2022

Jessica Palagano (BFA Design/Technology ‘19), is an Entertainment Technician for Walt Disney World where she specializes in lighting for special events and WDW concerts.

Jessica Palagano
Jessica Palagano

What are some of your responsibilities as an Entertainment Technician for Walt Disney World?

I lead and/or help with different shows and events around the Walt Disney property. I am currently a statused lighting tech at Epcot where I lead/assist working on different events like marathon, weddings, and conventions. I also spend a lot of time at two stages, one of which is The American Gardens Theatre where I help install, run, troubleshoot, maintain and program the lighting for different band performances, Disney on Broadway performances, and Candlelight performances. The other stage that I spend a lot of time at is Harmonious where I help maintain and troubleshoot the lighting for the show every morning.

Why did you choose to work at Disney?

Just like many other people, I enjoy Walt Disney World. I figured, why not do what I love in the place that I love. Also, although live theater was fun in college, I realized that I did not want to revolve my career around live theater so working at Disney has been the perfect spot to work on some shows but also do a large number of events too, which is where I really improve my skills and knowledge.

What has been your most fun or interesting experience at Disney thus far?

I have worked on New Years Eve at Epcot two times now and I have learned so much from them. Each time, I was given the ability to plan, install, run, lead a crew, and program my own lighting show file for the event. It was the best learning experience I have ever gotten, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Why did you choose to attend Otterbein?

I chose Otterbein because it is a liberal arts college and even though I knew that I wanted to major in theater, I was not sure what I wanted to specialize in and Otterbein gave me the opportunity to try each discipline and make an educated decision on what I wanted to focus on.

How have you applied the skills you learned at Otterbein to your current position?

The communication skills that I learned at Otterbein have been very helpful at Disney because I use them all the time. Everything I learned at Otterbein related to lighting, electricity, and signal flow has helped me at Disney.

What do you want prospective students to know about Otterbein?

Otterbein is great because it is a small school and you get to know everyone and become a family, specifically with the theater students. It is easy to move around so if you do not know what major you want to have, you can easily change majors/specializations. The theater department at Otterbein is especially helpful in getting you ready for the real world after college because they only have undergraduate programs so by the time you hit your junior year, you could be a designer/lead on a mainstage production, which is not something a lot of my friends who went to a college with a grad program, were able to do! The internship program that they offer is also a life saver because you could go from an internship straight to a job at that same company and that is why I have had this opportunity to have my dream job.