There are two things that Difference Maker Caylinn Higgins is passionate about, and those two things are wellness and business. As a soon-to-be UM-Dearborn alumna, Caylinn recounts her last four years at UM-Dearborn. The experiences she had, the people she met, and most of all, the awareness she created around holistic wellness.
“When I mentor students, I discuss the importance of holistic wellness while offering tips and advice to incorporate self-care into their routine,” she says. “The majority of students on campus forget to eat, sleep, hydrate themselves, and take a break from academics.”
Stemming from her own mental health experiences, Caylinn dove deep into the world of wellness and created resources on campus where other students could take control of their health as well.
What in the world is wellness?
Educating college students about wellness and creating spaces where they can share their feelings and prioritize time for themselves is vital on any campus. Between a busy class schedule, assignments, exams, internships, co-ops, and for some, taking on faculty research, it can become easy to put your health on the back burner.
In response to the exhaustion some of her peers expressed, Difference Maker Caylinn had the idea to create wellness workshops. The wellness workshops focused on the five pillars of wellness (mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual) and how students could incorporate them into their daily lives. One example focused on physical health. To empower students to take control of their physical self, Caylinn hosted a self-defense workshop where students were able to learn self-defense moves from U of M’s Empowerment Self Defense Program Manager Candace Dorsey.
In addition to wellness workshops, she also created a self-care journal that is currently available through the Office of Trio Programs and free to UM-Dearborn students.
“The goal of these workshops and planner is to empower students to take control of their overall wellness,” she says.
After graduation, Caylinn hopes to one day continue doing this type of work by becoming a wellness coach.
An entrepreneur with a cause
In 2022, Caylinn spent some time interning for Michigan Founders Fund, a network of entrepreneurs and investors that are growing the presence of ventures and advancing civic leadership in Michigan.
During her time with the program, Caylinn interned for a software development company called Nutshell. “While I was at Nutshell, I was able to experience being in a startup business. It was amazing and different from what I have experienced in an established business,” she says.
As a Customer Education Intern, she was tasked with writing scripts, operating a camera, and editing videos. She updated the company's tutorial videos by incorporating humor, skits, vlogs, and engagement pieces. As a result, Nutshell's customers gave the videos rave reviews and learned about the software faster. “This experience has inspired me to start my own production studio and to connect with more startup ecosystems,” she says.
Caylinn’s startup business is already up and running with a few existing clients. Her multi-media company is called Vibrant Studio Productions and utilizes marketing and content creation to help small businesses promote their brands online.
“Although I am still learning about business and holistic wellness, I am excited to continue my journey as an entrepreneur that will have a major impact on my community,” she says.