Emily Rivera, '09

Major              Communications
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For Emily (Ricketts) Rivera, ’09, dreams of becoming a dolphin trainer have come true—after a detour through Disney World bringing Mickey, Minnie and other characters to life.

Emily practically grew up on the Bryan campus, playing hide-and-seek in Rudd or hanging out in the Lion’s Den.  When it came time for college, Bryan was the obvious choice.  “My degree was awesome,” she said.  “No school has better communications teachers than Bryan.  Mr. Palmer tells the best stories ever, and Dr. Hollingsworth can make Aristotle surprisingly entertaining.”

During her senior year she was accepted into an internship at Walt Disney World, where she performed in shows, parades as various characters, or in dancing roles.  After graduation she moved to Florida and worked for Disney for two years, playing characters including Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, and Stitch.  During that time she started working at Clearwater Marine Aquarium with Winter, the “tailless” dolphin, rekindling her childhood love for dolphins.  “These creatures are so smart and relational,” she said.  “It proves to me we have a Creator Who is so detailed and cares so much about His animal creation.”

She applied for an animal training position at Sea World Discovery Cove, and credits her professors and the skills she learned at Bryan with helping her shine in the interview process.  Today, as a dolphin trainer, “I do animal interactions all day with the most amazing creatures. I use all my talents—acting, animal training, and on a good day I even might do a little dolphin dance.

“I have learned that God has given me the best family, husband, and friends a person could ask for. He is so good!”