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Lakeland celebrated its extensive commitment to experiential education Thursday by hosting its inaugural Co-op and Internship Signing Day.

Students who have secured a cooperative education job or internship experience for the spring semester signed letters of intent. Many were joined at the ceremony by representatives from their employer companies.

"Employers are excited to host Lakeland students and train them in roles that could lead to careers in the Sheboygan community and beyond," said Jess Lambrecht, Lakeland’s associate vice president of cooperative education & career readiness. "Our partners are expanding the offerings of co-ops and internships, and we are grateful for their support."

The ceremony included student who have secured a spot for spring. Other students are still finalizing spring experiences. Lakeland coordinated more than 240 internships/co-ops this past year, a number expected to grow significantly due to addition of cooperative education.

Scott Stuckmann, a 2012 Lakeland graduate who works as a tax manager for CliftonLarsonAllen, said CLA looks to Lakeland and its students when hiring for its Sheboygan and Manitowoc offices. He said a majority of CLA hires are previous interns.

"These opportunities allow students a chance to immerse themselves in the work experience," Stuckmann said. "It is a nice way for students to test the waters of a career path."

The event also featured remarks from Lauren Bruggink, a senior who recently switched her major from biochemistry to food safety and quality. She has been working at Masters Gallery Foods this fall as part of the quality team, and will continue there in the spring.

"I’m thankful to Lakeland for its flexibility," Bruggink said. "My professors hand tailored my experience. I was able to work the day shift and take courses online and through BlendEd at night which allowed me to balance school and work."

The cooperative education and career programming efforts help Lakeland students gain valuable professional work experiences, provide students with a competitive edge upon graduation, help them make valuable connections and have greater financial support to reduce debt.

The co-op program was launched as an idea 2.5 years ago, and already 50 percent of Lakeland’s students have taken part in the program.

"Experiential education is continuing to grow in ways we never thought possible," Lambrecht said. "This program allows Lakeland to expand its role as an economic driver in the community as our graduates will be able to purchase homes, cars or begin a family earlier."

In the last placement survey, 89 percent of LU’s traditional program graduates stay in the state of Wisconsin.

Students who have secured spring co-ops and internships and their employers are:

Abigail Baumgartner, Lakeland University; Alicia Thone, Lakeland University; Alyssa Gabrielse, Lakeland University; Azucel Sanchez Beltran, Huberty CPA; Betsie Anderson, Fresh Meals On Wheels Of Sheboygan; Brian Brickham, Burrows Aviation; Chanel Bradford, Lakeland University; Clarice Case, Lakeland University; Colleen Nolan, Huberty CPA; Curtiss Dokey, CliftonLarsonAllen; Darcyn Gross, Lakeland University;

David Rodriguez, The Westin Tokyo; Dustin Bergene, Great Lakes Coca-Cola Bottling; Eric Naumann, Lakeland University; Ethan Richmond, Kohler Co.; Jasmine Borgmann, Lakeland University; Jason Anger, Veritas Financial; Jenna Borts, Dunkin' Donuts; Jessica Leicht, Masters Gallery Foods; Jolene Halbach, Hawkins Ash CPAs; Karson Brown, Hess & Associates; Kassahun Lehman, Lakeland University; LaJill Edge, Lakeland University;

Landon Magierka, Boys & Girls Club of Sheboygan; Lauren Bruggink, Masters Gallery; Mackenzie Sand, Country Visions Cooperative; Mai Hasegawa, Rebate Bus; Makayla Bruton, Aurora; Mason Ksioszk, CliftonLarsonAllen; Megan Goeser, Luxembourg American Cultural Society; Naya Moyett, Lakeland University baseball; Paul Ladd, Compeer Financial; Rachel Anderson, Camp Anokijig; Riley Phelps, Trulight Project; Spencer Miesfeld, Fromm Accounting LLC; Taylor Bubolz, Fox Cities Elite Volleyball Club; Timothy Cha, Planet Fitness.

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