Co-Op Spotlight: Deyna Gatica
Name: Deyna Gatica
Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Sheboygan, Wis.
Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program puts students in jobs that allow them to gain professional work skills, grow personally and earn wages to that allow students to minimize post-graduation tuition debt. Deyna Gatica checked all of those boxes, and is a role model for students considering Lakeland’s Co-Op program.
A 2019 Lakeland graduate with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in human resource management, she had a valuable Co-Op job in business development at Ansay and Associates in Port Washington, Wis. She learned basic skills of working in an office setting, such as how to talk to people on the phone, how to properly schedule appointments, using specific software for data entry and communicating with clients via social media.
“Without this job, I would have learned what to do in class, but I never would have gotten the opportunity to improve myself,” said Gatica, who was a member of the Lakeland chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success her last two years. “I received help from both my supervisor and Lakeland’s Co-Op & Career Readiness Team with any questions and concerns. That helped make my experience very valuable.”
Professionally, she focused on gaining new experiences and skills like multitasking and time management. “Anything that I thought would make me become successful in my position, I did,” said Gatica, who also started working in her current job for Bemis Manufacturing while at Lakeland. “I used the knowledge given to me in the classroom and applied it to real-life cases.”
On the personal side, Lakeland pushed Gatica outside her comfort zones. “I learned how to be more independent, be more of a leader and be more open minded,” she said. “I would try to meet new people all the time. I felt very comfortable knowing that LU is small enough that I would always see the same familiar faces during passing periods every day.”
Gatica lives in Sheboygan, Wis., and looked into Lakeland because it was close to home and she connected with the small campus that allowed her to personally know her professors.
“I liked the welcoming feeling that I encountered when I stepped foot on campus for the first time,” Gatica said.
She was also attracted to the large variety of majors and minors that Lakeland offers to students, and that selection came in handy as she was a biochemistry major at LU for two years before switching to business.
As a first generation college student, managing the cost of college was also important, and Gatica learned some smart strategies that allowed her to graduate with minimal student debt. Her current employer has a tuition reimbursement program which helped her pay for school.
“One tip that I would definitely recommend is having a certain amount of money from every paycheck that you receive be directly deposited to a savings account in order to save money,” she said. “Also, if you are paying student loans, make sure to have automatic withdrawals each month and keep track of what day that payment is made. My LU experience was definitely an affordable option.”
Long term, Gatica hopes to land a managerial position in either HR or business so she can use the skill sets she learned at Lakeland through her Co-Op job.