Co-Op Spotlight: Cailyn Branback
Cailyn Branback continuously found ways to venture outside her comfort zone during her Lakeland experience, both on and off campus.
Branback graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree with a double major in business administration and marketing with emphases in sales management, healthcare management, human resources management and international business.
Working numerous jobs through Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program played a huge role in her development, and positioned her for her current role as a purchasing clerk with Systems Control in Iron Mountain, Mich.
She worked for Bemis Manufacturing and Great Lakes Cheese as a human resources assistant, and for Aurora Health Care as a patient services representative. She also had jobs at the Osthoff Resort as a spa concierge in the Aspira Spa, and as a cashier for Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
Working with Lakeland’s Cooperative Education & Career Readiness team and her faculty members helped her identify these opportunities, as well as attending Lakeland’s career fairs and connecting with individuals through LinkedIn.
To go with her numerous jobs, Branback was incredibly active on campus. She was a member and officer for the Pi Kappa Gamma sorority, a member and captain of the cross country team, president of the Spanish Club, vice president of Student Government Association and a member of LU-One, LU Pen-Pals, Enactus, IGC, Adventure Club and Conversation Partners.
She was a finalist for the Clarence H. Koehler Campus Senior Award, she completed a Senior Honors Project and was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Branback came to Lakeland from the small town of Niagara, Wis., and she credits Lakeland’s diverse campus with helping her grow.
“Lakeland allowed me to be around individuals of diverse backgrounds and take in their different beliefs, values and customs,” she said. “Cross country groomed me and broke me out of my shell. The program helped me want to do more on campus. I became a part of organizations and clubs I never thought I would be a part of.
“All my skills and accomplishments from Lakeland came together to get me to where I am today in my professional career.”
The wages she received working her Co-Op jobs, along with scholarships she earned, were critical in making Lakeland affordable and setting her up to manage post-graduation debt.
“Working multiple jobs throughout college was rough, but I was able to save up a good amount of money to use for my student loans,” Branback said. “I am thankful for the generosity of all the scholarship donors that made it possible for me to attend Lakeland.”
Branback suggested that current and future students work closely not only with the Co-Op program, but also the financial aid office to help plan their Lakeland experience.
“When you first get to Lakeland, see how much you are going to owe for your loans and develop a payment plan right away,” Branback said. “It is important to take advantage of any scholarships that are available. Also, get a job on or off campus and work as many hours as you are able and to save money to help you for when you get out of school.”