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Dream jobs: Northeastern grads connect over co-ops and jobs at The Walt Disney Company

Northeastern graduates Michael Loughran and Nicole Kraemer pose with Summer Baking Championship host Jesse Palmer. Courtesy photo

When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.

And for Northeastern graduates Michael Loughran (Class of 2000) and Nicole Kraemer (2023), a similar wish led not only to dream co-op experiences but to dream jobs at The Walt Disney Company. 

“I owe it all to the co-op program,” says Loughran, production director within the Programming, Media Networks Synergy and Partnership Marketing team at Disney Experiences’ Yellow Shoes Creative Group. “You’re in the field you want to be in, working with major companies, and you’re ready to go hit the ground running where you want to be.”

Kraemer, a production coordinator in Programming and Media Network Synergy at Yellow Shoes, also credits Northeastern. 

“I feel so lucky to get a dream job of mine right out of college,” says Kraemer, who was previously on co-op with Loughran’s team at Yellow Shoes. “Not everyone has that, and I think Northeastern students are really prepared for the real world.”

Loughran describes the Yellow Shoes Creative Group as the “internal advertising agency for Disney Experiences.”

“Anytime you see a Disney park or resort in a primetime show — a daytime television show, a game show, a documentary, a reality show, etc. — that’s our department,” he explains. 

For example, Yellow Shoes worked on “Modern Family” when the characters visited Disneyland and hosted “American Idol” at Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii.

Loughran focuses on show and integration development, while Kraemer is on the production side of Yellow Shoes. 

But that’s about the only point at which their career paths have diverged.

In fact, Loughran and Kraemer traced their experiences back to the same source: Jacqui Sweeney, cooperative education faculty coordinator at Northeastern’s College of Art, Media and Design. 

Sweeney connected Loughran with the Disney College Program, where he had worked as a custodial host at Frontierland in 1997. He followed that with a co-op in marketing and synergy with Disney Parks. He won the Co-op Education Award in May 2000. 

Almost 20 years later, Kraemer was in Sweeney’s classroom delivering a pitch for her “dream company.” It was The Walt Disney Company.

“No one else had a presentation like mine,” Kraemer says, laughing. “I had a classmate say to me, ‘I didn’t think we had to be that intense.’”

Again, Sweeney made the connection — this time connecting Kraemer and Loughran.

“I love connecting smart people with other smart people,” Loughran says. “I like helping people, we’ve all been there, and I know how helpful Jacqui was, and I want to be as helpful as I can.”

Alas, the fairy-tale ending was not immediately to be.

Kraemer had made it to the final round of interviews for two Disney internships when the world went into lockdown in March 2020. Disney put a hold on all its internships.

“I thought I was never going to co-op at Disney,” Kraemer says.

But she stayed in touch with Loughran for the next two years. 

“He never shut the door, which was so great for my hope,” Kraemer says.

In her final co-op semester, Loughran reached out to Kraemer — an intern on his team could no longer do the internship. Was she interested? 

“I remember thinking it wasn’t real because it had been so long,” Kraemer says. 

She was soon in Los Angeles. Then, when a full-time job opened up on the production team, Kraemer’s professionalism and work ethic garnered her the position. 

“Nicole is a machine in the field,” Loughran says. “She’s not only smart on the strategic end, she’s someone that gets the job done.

Kraemer likewise praised Loughran.

“We say Mike’s a doer,” Kraemer says. “Northeastern produces doers.” 

And although made years apart, similar wishes upon a star have come true. 

“It’s all about the connections,” Loughran says. “I’ve loved making connections with people in the industry I was interested in and seeing how we could help each other and grow.”

It’s a lesson that Kraemer has taken to heart, perhaps inspiring a future Husky’s wish.

“People have written to me and said ‘I see you work at Disney, I want to know more,’ and it’s so easy to write that off,” Kraemer says. “But of course, you need to pay that forward.”