Lock Haven University alumna joins Disney’s Hilton Head Resort

LOCK HAVEN — Megan Bonomo, a 2016 graduate of Lock Haven University, recently was hired as the new recreation development coordinator at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.

In her position, Bonomo will serve the recreation department in coordinating and implementing recreational activities and opportunities for resort guests, including water activities, nature programs, family games, campfires and more. She also will undergo training to become licensed to assist in lifeguarding and first aid.

Bonomo, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a focus in public discourse and performance and minors in biology and environmental studies, credits Lock Haven’s individualized feel and community atmosphere as key reasons that she chose LHU.

“I like how (LHU) offers a lot of opportunity for individualized instruction, attention, and extracurricular programming. It was an environment where I was a name and face, not just a number,” Bonomo said. “The way professors connect with and prepare the students is incomparable. The professors always showed a genuine interest in how you were doing. They didn’t want to set you up for a job, they wanted to prepare you for a career.”

To help build her resume, Bonomo took part in the 2015 Walt Disney World College Program in Florida. She spent a semester with Disney, working as a lifeguard and in transportation operations at Epcot, all while taking classes through Disney that transferred six credits back to LHU. To ensure that she wouldn’t fall behind, she also took nine credits online from LHU. This experience helped her obtain the position she now holds with Disney.

In her final summer as a student before graduating in December 2016, Bonomo still wanted to further cultivate her resume. Her two passions are animal conservation and public speaking, so she worked as a seal and sea lion trainer at Oceans of Fun in Hershey.

Bonomo said she chose a degree in communication to help bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public.

“On the science side of issues — like pollution and greenhouse gasses — people are more likely to become interested and involved to help guide change if they better understand the actual issues. The communication degree has helped me develop strategies to better educate others on these issues.”

Before graduating, Bonomo was offered a position with a communications firm in the Washington, D.C. area. Her responsibilities included public relations and strategy for National Geographic. After a year in the position, she wanted a change of environment.

“I sent my e-portfolio to the chief ranger of visitor experience of Pocahontas State Park in Virginia. She thought that the e-portfolio was super cool and they had a position open for an interpretive park ranger. After a 45-minute phone interview, I was offered the position. I wrangled snakes and turtles. I also developed and implemented programs to enhance the community experience at the park. The job was perfect because it encompassed both communication and nature.”

Although Bonomo loved her position with Pocahontas State Park, when a job opportunity arose in South Carolina, she chose to leave that position. She considers South Carolina a perfect location to assist her in reaching her ultimate career dreams, since it is near the ocean.

“My dream career is to one day be a communications director or program development coordinator at an aquarium or marine non-profit. Plenty of opportunities in this industry in South Carolina. What drives me is my passion,” she said.

Bonomo attributes some of her success thus far to her first steps on Ivy Lane at LHU, which will always be her favorite location on campus. The walk on Ivy Lane helped her select LHU, and LHU helped her set the foundation for her future.

“I think of the time that I took the tour of campus often. I think of how beautiful Ivy Lane is. Memories from congregating around the fountain with my friends between classes, meeting with groups for projects outside the library. It was nice before, but it is extra special now with the commons and renovations. It is a place to sit and clear your mind. I felt at home on Ivy Lane, which ultimately led to me creating memories and being at home at Lock Haven University,” she said.