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Though he graduated with a degree from UW-Superior in 2008, Mike Bodin's career path was not that of a typical college student. He started his service by devoting six years of his life to the US Navy. After these many years of service, he began attending UW-Superior in September of 1979, first focusing his attention on small business, and then later shifting his studies to learn about fisheries management. However, in 1981 another opportunity presented itself to Bodin, and he made the decision to once again enlist in the US Navy.
Fifteen years after his re-enlistment, Bodin finally retired from the US Navy after serving his country with a remarkable 21 years of active duty. It was because of his service that he desired to find a job that was something fulfilling for him. He started working a part-time job with the DNR, but since he wanted a full-time job that would also provide him with benefits, he continued his job search.
When he later discovered that the state of Wisconsin would be conducting the Security Officer Exam, Bodin decided to test his knowledge and give the exam a whirl. His thorough training in the US Navy became quite apparent when he discovered that he scored thirteenth in the state. He explains his high test score saying, "I was a Surface SONAR Technician and worked on the Nuclear Weapons Handling and Security Teams on several of the ships that I was assigned to during my enlistments. Physical security was taken very seriously in that line of work. I brought that training to this job opportunity back in 1996." With his marks as high as they were, Bodin was able to apply for a position as a state Security Officer and was offered the full-time position working on the UW-Superior campus.
Though it is more traditional to receive a degree before finding a full-time job, Bodin did not let that stop him from returning to school once again to complete his education. In 2004 he began his studies through UW-Superior's Distance Learning Center, which allowed him to take classes while still keeping his full-time job. Since UW-Superior is a liberal arts college, Bodin was able to take the opportunity to design his own major. By taking this approach, he was able to add in classes that he thought would benefit him the best in his career and also to help him to develop even further as an individual. His hard worked paid off and he graduated in December of 2008 with enough time for his father to proudly watch him receive his diploma.
Working as a Campus Security Officer, Bodin splits his time between working in the office and making his rounds throughout the campus. The few days during the week that he spends in his office he can be found taking care of administrative duties, compiling reports, dispatching other officers to attend to calls, or working with a portion of the university's website. On the days when he does his active campus patrol, Bodin likes getting the opportunity to talk to both the students and his fellow workers on campus while carrying out his security duties. He also likes working on the small campus since it is generally a very safe place to be.
Another opportunity that Bodin is given as a security officer is the chance to teach a class called Prime for Life, which aims to help promote a positive lifestyle. He enjoys being able to see his message connect with the young people in his classes and have an effect in their lives. By helping them to learn how to make good decisions for themselves, he knows that he is helping to make their lives better in the future.
Unfortunately, there are still some difficult aspects to his job. One of the hardest facets to his work is dealing with people who do not want to follow the laws. Bodin does not like having to give out state citations, but he realizes that it is necessary for everyone's safety that he does so. It is also difficult for him to work with people who are not eager to cooperate or show due respect towards him and the other officers. However, Bodin knows that this is not an uncommon thing to deal with in his type of job position, and he does what needs to be done in order to keep everyone safe.
Bodin already has committed 17 years of work to serving as an officer on the UW-Superior campus. He worked his way up to the top of the ladder, and he knows what it takes to get into the highest position. His suggestion for people looking to advance in this type of field is to take advantage of the opportunities to continue to learn, and not to be afraid to make changes and adapt to new things. He also recommends "[trying] not to be too selfish with your time and efforts." There are always additional things that can be done to make yourself more skilled at your job, and it is important to take the time to better yourself as an individual.
It was not a requirement for Bodin to go back to school to complete his college education in order to keep his job. However, his college education provided him with both a deeper understanding for his field and a deep sense of accomplishment. Knowing the benefits of constantly learning, Bodin comments, "It is never too late to go back to college and pursue a higher degree or to change your course of employment if your first attempt at it does not turn out quite the way you had envisioned it to be. Our Distance Learning Center program is a great way to take advantage of continuing educational opportunities no matter where you are or what time you may have available to you for studying and improving your life." Whether it is in a formal setting or not, Bodin knows the benefits of an education, and he encourages people to never stop learning.
Mike Bodin was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. His full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/a-day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Kristen Jasperson on January 14, 2013. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
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