Lakeland names new leaders for Co-Op program
Lakeland University has selected two new leaders for its Cooperative Education program, one a familiar face and the other a newcomer to Lakeland with numerous higher education experiences.
Lakeland faculty member Britanni Meinnert has been named associate vice president for Cooperative Education, and Hillary Young has been named director of Cooperative Education.
Meinnert will lead Lakeland’s Co-Op and career readiness team, focusing on external engagement efforts, coordination of Co-Op from acceptance to the program through post-graduation success and promoting career readiness for the entire student population. She will continue in her role as a Lakeland faculty member in LU’s hospitality management program with revised teaching duties to accommodate her new responsibilities.
Young will focus on student engagement, Cooperative Education coursework and supervision of the on-campus student employment program. She will meet one-on-one with students who need assistance with Co-Op planning and meet frequently with on-campus site supervisors and faculty to build relationships and support the professional growth of Lakeland students.
Meinnert replaces Jess Lambrecht and Young replaces Mara Poulette, who both resigned recently after securing new positions. Both are expected to begin their new roles in January.
“We owe a great deal of thanks to Jess Lambrecht and Mara Poullette for their years of service and steadfast commitment to the development of Cooperative Education at Lakeland,” said Lakeland President Beth Borgen. “Their leadership and hard work helped turn this vision into reality and we are well positioned to further Cooperative Education as our competitive advantage.”
In Meinnert and Young, Borgen said Lakeland has added two talented members to the team that will keep Co-Op growing.
“Britanni has been a champion of Co-Op since its inception, and her employer relations and commitment to experiential learning will be essential as we continue to live our Co-Op brand,” Borgen said. “Hillary brings a wealth of experience in student support and is eager to further align on-campus student employment with Co-Op and develop new opportunities to expand a student-centric Co-Op mindset at Lakeland.”
Meinnert, who joined Lakeland as a full-time faculty member in 2015, was the 2021 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She has served as chair of Lakeland’s Business and Technology Division, a role she will leave due to her new responsibilities.
A two-time Lakeland graduate – in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and in 2010 with a master of business administration – Meinnert is known for being an enthusiastic advocate, advisor and mentor for her students and a joyful colleague. She is the architect of countless field trips, experiential learning opportunities, practicums, Co-Ops and internships that set her students up for post-graduation success.
In her role as a teacher, Meinnert drew from 14 years of working in the hospitality industry. Throughout her time as a Lakeland student, she worked at The American Club, the only 5-Diamond, 5-Star resort in the Midwest. Upon graduation, she was promoted into a leadership role in housekeeping, then moved to the front desk.
"I have been intricately woven into Cooperative Education since its inception,” Meinnert said. “I am excited to continue the hard work Jess, Mara, Megan (Hellmer) and Chris (Ledvina) have already accomplished and continue to move Cooperative Education forward providing meaningful academic experiences with our established and growing Co-Op partners for all of our students, readying them for their careers. I look forward to working with both our external and internal stakeholders of Cooperative Education."
Young, a native of this area, comes to Lakeland from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., where she served as academic advisor from January 2019 through this past May. She developed curriculum and taught in the First Year Experience Program, recruited, trained, supported and supervised 30-40 student peer tutors, collaborated with faculty to support students and increased retention.
She previously worked at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn., as a pre-enrollment & post-test advisor, providing academic advising to prospective and current students and helping students navigate numerous college processes. She has also worked at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire.
Young received a master of science in education degree in student affairs administration in higher education from UW-La Crosse, and a bachelor’s in political science from UW-Eau Claire.