Co-Op Spotlight: Amanda Brandt
Lakeland junior Amanda Brandt is enjoying quite a transformation thanks to her Cooperative Education jobs. Not only has she improved her professional skill set, she is growing as a person in ways she never dreamed possible.
Currently, she serves as the inaugural chief marketing officer of Launch: Lakeland Student-Run Businesses, a role that has her leading marketing efforts for one of LU’s newest ventures.
It is the latest in an impressive list of jobs that includes services intern at Acuity and jobs on campus as a resident assistant and a role with the Lakeland admissions call team.
“I started out as a shy freshman that had no idea what I was doing,” said Brandt, a business administration and marketing double major from Kiel, Wis. “As time went on, I realized that I needed to take chances and step out of my comfort zone. I have grown more confident both personally and professionally, and I have LU to thank for that.”
Launch is in its infancy, and Brandt is a pioneer who is helping the program take shape. As CMO, she is responsible for successfully developing and implementing marketing strategies to help achieve the SRB’s objectives. It is a mix of research and writing that fills her time alongside her coursework.
“As soon as I heard that I could be a student executive in a new startup that would grant me unparalleled experience in my field, I knew I had to go for it,” Brandt said.
A key to her success has been the resources available at Lakeland, including the Cooperative Education & Career Readiness team and LU faculty members.
“The Co-Op team helped with my resume and cover letter writing, how to earn Co-Op credits and how to navigate through switching jobs,” Brandt said. “I had several great faculty members that assisted when working through workplace challenges that I had no idea how to deal with. I knew that there were several faculty members I could turn to when I needed help.”
Brandt is making the most of her Lakeland experience. She is a member of the Pi Kappa Gamma Sorority, serving as Historian and IGC Representative, and she has been involved with Spanish Club, Enactus and ELSA.
She attended LU because it was close to home, offered the majors she had in mind and was similar in size to her high school.
“I also chose Lakeland because of the opportunities the Co-Op program granted me, and the many great businesses that surround Lakeland,” said Brandt, noting that Lakeland was familiar because her uncle and her cousin also attended Lakeland.
Thanks to the financial benefits of Co-Op, Brandt said she will only have a small loan to pay off after graduation. She has learned how to manage her tuition payments thanks to support from LU's Office of Financial Aid & Educational Funding, a resource she encouraged her peers to seek out.
Brandt said getting a job through Co-Op and becoming an RA were both instrumental in helping her pay for her education.
“There are always opportunities to make money either on- or off-campus while going to school,” she said. “I would advise students to work every semester to save enough money to pay off the monthly tuition payments. As for money management tips, try to save as much money as you can without overworking yourself too much. I regularly check my bank account balance and make sure that I would have enough for my tuition payments before I would spend a lot of money.”
After graduation, Brandt hopes to work for a local nonprofit or return to Acuity in a marketing or communications role, eventually elevating into a management position.