Paxton Brittingham of Lawrence, Kansas, graduates in December with a bachelor’s degree in Clifton Builders management from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The distinctive degree, which equips students to build and manage people, teams and businesses, allowed her to begin chasing her entrepreneurial goals while still in college.
“I have been an entrepreneur since I was 13 years old, and I have run a couple of different businesses already. But since high school, I dreamed of opening a store of my own, which is why I came to Nebraska Business to study entrepreneurship. I wanted to be able to gain skills to help me turn my dream into reality,” she said.
As a first-year student, she quickly felt welcomed into the Nebraska College of Business community, and Lincoln began to feel like home. She applied and was accepted into the cohort-based Clifton Builders Program, which aims to help Nebraska, the nation and the world identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs and business developers to develop economic growth and prosperity. The program gave her the support and tools she needed to prepare to build her future businesses.
“The Clifton Builders Program completely made my college experience. I would not be who I am or be so prepared for the future if it was not for this program. The people in the Clifton Strengths Institute were truly invested in helping me reach my goals and chase my dreams. I know I will always have many supporters here.”
Hands-on projects during her time in the program included the Builders Marketplace, where the entire cohort creates and sells products or services. The students gain experience launching a business and contributing to the community by donating their proceeds to local nonprofits. Her team created and sold “gratitude bags” that included a printed graphic, postcard and sticker that Brittingham designed. She recalled the event her sophomore year as a fun way to merge her creative talents with raising money for charity, all while practicing launching a small business.
Timothy Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, recognized Brittingham for her continuous creativity and passion to help others. He also mentioned her strong work ethic and attention to detail.
“She doesn’t fit into the traditional paths. Rather, she studies the existing options, then creates something better,” Hodges said. “It’s been amazing to see this continuous unfolding of who she is becoming and how she is serving others in the process.”
On top of her business success, Brittingham maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average throughout college and was named a Chancellor’s Scholar for December 2021. The award is the highest academic award offered at Nebraska. She also flourished in supporting other students in her sorority, Chi Omega, and as a student instructor at Innovation Studio, where she taught classes in advanced screenprinting and using the embroidery machine, helping members explore and develop their own creativity.
After graduation, she will first work remotely as intern director for Milestone Home Service Co., based in Dallas, Texas, while continuing to build her business that launched in early 2020, LINKxLOU that sells sustainable, welded custom-sized jewelry. Next year, she plans to move to Dallas to run Milestone’s intern program while pursuing what she calls her “big business dreams.”
“My dreams include opening a community-based business called Flourish & Bloom Collaborative that is a coffee shop, specialty bar, art studio and event space. I’ve been working on this dream for three years and wrote the business plan for it during my Business Plan Development and Decision Making (ENTR 423) class.”
Brittingham said overall the best part of being a Husker is being part of a tight-knit family that extends across campus, making it feel much smaller.
“I would not be the person that I am today without the relationships I built, the opportunities I received or the dreams I created during my time here at Nebraska. I am so proud of the person I’ve grown to be, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.”
To learn more about the Clifton Builders Program, visit https://business.unl.edu/builders.