Student: Lauren Humann

East Carolina University’s Lauren Humann is helping make dreams come true for others while fulfilling her own.

Humann, a junior in the College of Business, is a member of ECU’s chapter of the national nonprofit A Moment of Magic, where college students dress as popular princesses, superheroes and other characters while visiting patients in children’s hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House and at events. With a background in theater and dance, Humann started her own business, DreamShine, while she was in high school, hoping to inspire confidence in children. Last summer, she interned at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Humann is a Brinkley-Lane Scholar and Copeland Fellow, and an inaugural recipient of the Bob and Jenny Rippy Fellowship in the ECU Miller School of Entrepreneurship. She graduated from Richmond County Early High School, and earned an associate in science and an associate in electric utility substation and relay technology before coming to ECU as an intended electrical engineering major.

She loved ECU’s engineering program, people and professors, but realized she was more interested in learning the business side of things. “It kind of made me realize that I might not be on the right path,” she said.

She talked with mentors at ECU, including Honors College Dean Todd Fraley, who suggested she visit the Miller School and meet with Mike Harris, now interim dean of the College of Business.

“It sounded like a perfect fit for me because the things I love about business are pitching and sales and building a team,” Humann said.

Her dream job is to work for Walt Disney Imagineering, the company’s research and development arm. Humann was able to learn more last summer through the Disney College Program, working in the park’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. She also took several classes that Disney offers daily to team members — which became her favorite part of the internship.

Junior honors student Lauren Humann completed a summer internship at Walt Disney World. (Contributed photo)

She met Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, and Ashley Eckstein, the voice actor of Ahsoka Tano in the “Star Wars” franchise and founder of the fashion business Her Universe. She met Disney executives from across the company, animators and many others.

“It was really good networking when it comes to all the different people you can meet,” Humann said. “I knew it was a huge company beforehand because I went to narrow down what I wanted to do there, and I left with even more jobs and possibilities that I didn’t know existed.”

It helped Humann realize she’d like to be a project coordinator within Disney Imagineering, and ECU’s entrepreneurship program is helping her get there.

“I think ECU does a great job preparing students for next steps,” she said. “Really encouraging you to pursue opportunities that you might be hesitant about for whatever reason is what stretches us and makes us better because we’ve done these things that are outside of our comfort zone. It will make me a better employee no matter where I end up.”

After visiting Disney in middle and high school, Humann was inspired to bring the same joy to her own community. She started a company called DreamShine — a name that comes from her belief that “dreams come true, confidence shines through.” The service offers meet and greets and birthday party options with costumed characters for children.

Lauren Humann portrays Disney princess Belle with ECU’s chapter of the nonprofit A Moment of Magic. (Contributed photo)

“The goal is to bring dreams to life and also encourage confidence in ways that theater did for me when I first started,” she said. “I did that just for fun because I loved it and because I wanted to see what good I could do for the community. I didn’t realize it was a business venture and entrepreneurship endeavor until I got here. ECU has helped me expand on the idea and make it more feasible.”

Humann said she chose ECU because it felt like home. “It was important for me to have a connection with my professors and have one-on-one talks that I valued so much through high school and my community college. I wanted to be at a bigger school, but I had heard about all the smaller class sizes that ECU offers. That was really exciting and inspiring for me to come here and then the donor support, both financial and just loving support.”

From her first campus tour, Humann said she felt a spirit of loyalty, service and teamwork. “Everybody that I’ve met, from fellow students and peers to professors and staff, have done everything in their power to help me succeed and to help me learn. I have truly valued that. And I’ve tried to be that for my peers as well,” she said.

“I love that Dr. Harris always says you’re not a Pirate for four years, you’re a Pirate for 40 years. The first time I heard that I was just beaming. It’s so exciting to know that you have a family of supporters for that long. Being that support to others is equally as important,” she said. “I have younger siblings who are going through the college application process, and I’m trying not to sway them one way or the other. But after coming here and knowing how much support and resources we have, I don’t know why anyone would choose to go anywhere else.”

Humann studied abroad for two weeks last year with the ECU College of Health and Human Performance in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, studying cultural differences. That trip gave her the confidence to want to travel abroad for an entire semester. She plans to attend Griffith University on Australia’s Gold Coast this fall.

“It’s a little intimidating but I know that the other program and my classes here on campus, my global marketing and other classes, have prepared me for this and prepared me to take advantage of these opportunities that you can only get once in a lifetime,” she said

This Pirate is passionate about using her entrepreneurial spirit to help people create memories that will last a lifetime.


Name: Lauren Humann

College: College of Business 

Major: Entrepreneurship

Age: 21

Classification/Year: Junior

Hometown: Rockingham

Hobbies/interests: Theater, music, dance, choir, art and Disney

Clubs and Organizations: Honors College Brinkley-Lane Scholar, Pirate Navigators (campus tour guide) and A Moment of Magic.



Favorite hangout: Isley Innovation Hub

Favorite place on campus: Student Technology Center (Third floor of Bate)

Favorite place to eat: Chick-fil-A

Favorite class: BUSI 3200 Professional Development & Ethical Leadership

Professor who influenced you the most: Brittany Thompson

Favorite TV show: “Once Upon a Time”

Favorite band/musician: Taylor Swift

Favorite movie: “Once Upon a Ball”

Favorite app: Golf Battle



Dream job: Project manager for Walt Disney World Imagineering

Role model: Walt Disney

Your words to live by: “You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring!” – Beauty and the Beast; “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!” – Walt Disney

What advice do you have for other students? Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. They are often once in a lifetime. Believe in yourself. Believe you can accomplish your goals. Apply for the opportunities you do not feel ready for. You will never know what you can achieve until you try and give it your all!

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? 

I regret not fully grasping the abundance of resources at ECU and the swift passage of time. If I could advise my first-year self, I’d underscore the crucial importance of building relationships with professors and peers. Professors provide invaluable insights into career paths. The college journey is a transient chapter filled with untapped potential, and actively embracing the present moment is key to a fulfilling academic and personal experience.