Jordan Gochman, SAS '13
Majors: Theater Arts; Labor Studies
Activities: Cabaret Theater, The Medium, Rutgers Night Live
What attracted you to Rutgers University and the Honors/Scholars Program?
I remember on the bus tour seeing all four campuses and seeing these giant buildings for the Marine Biology department. I had literally no interest in Marine Biology but it was amazing to me to see that the University had so many resources at their disposal. I could study anything I wanted and Rutgers would have the resources to support me. At an open house for the Honors Program, I found comfort in having a small academic environment to fall back onto as I progressed at a giant University.
Why did you choose your major and minor?
I chose Theater Arts because, well, I have loved theater since I was a child. My other major, Labor Studies, came out of a desire by my parents to major in something 'practical.' But, I fell in love with the coursework and spent more time with my Labor professors than I did with my Theater ones! It was nice to study the dynamics of business with a more interpersonal and human approach.
Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now. What was your first job after Rutgers? Where you do you live?
As soon as I graduated Rutgers, I moved down to Orlando, Florida to get started on the Disney College Program. I drove the trucks at Kilimanjaro Safaris, completed an internship with Magic Kingdom Guest Relations, and did a quick stop at the World Famous Jungle Cruise before I landed my dream job as a Stage Technician at Fantasmic, the nightly spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios. After a little over a year I moved into the role I have now, where I am the Facility Crew Chief for the Castle Forecourt Stage. Basically, I oversee the daily technical operations for all the Entertainment at Cinderella Castle. It is truly amazing to call one of the most famous buildings in the world my office!.
What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since you graduated Rutgers?
This past year, Cinderella Castle saw the arrival of its first brand new daily show in nearly a decade: Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire. I led the opening crew during installation and coordinated the assignment of duties for the technicians that would work at the show each day. It features dozens of Disney characters, fireworks, special effects and fiber optic lighting! Its been less than a year and we are already past our 1,000th performance!
Was there a class and/or experience at Rutgers that led you to pursuing your current career?
I had fancied myself an Actor in college, and figured out Junior year that if I wanted to actually 'work' in the theater for a living, I'd have to find something to fall back on. My time at Cabaret Theater on Douglass Campus gave me a crash course in Lighting Design that laid the foundation of my technical knowledge.
What three words describe your experience at Rutgers and the Honors/Scholars Program?
Dedicated. Taxing. Illuminating.
How has your Rutgers and Honors education benefited you in your post-Rutgers life?
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has just as many people working for it as the New Brunswick campus has students! Learning how to navigate through a big crowd to make your way to the top was a skill I could not have mastered if I didn't attend Rutgers.
What advice do you have for our current SAS Honors Program students?
Don't forget to enjoy the splendor of the University. You can't learn how to live in the world if you don't go and experience it. Hop the train to New York one weekend. Attend a protest. Join a club that has nothing to do with your major or career because you find it fun. You only have four years to discover what makes you a well-rounded human being. Don't let your major and your career path define who you are for the next fifty!
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Check out past featured Spotlights of Honors Alumni.