History got me engaged, and I grew so much in the program. My instructors pushed me to be a better person."
Looking back, alumni Mike Raunio sees how much he’s transformed since walking into the doors of UW-Superior as a freshman in 2001. Change happened right away as his first few weeks on campus coincided with 9/11 – the whole world changed.
“I came to school thinking I wanted to be a teacher," said Mike, "Though, with the world changing and with what I was learning in classes, I realized I wanted to get involved in a different way”
Mike declared a major in History, so he could dig back into cultures to try and understand the future. Though, his interests weren’t the only reasons why he was attracted to the program.
“I was interested in social movements and how things changed in society over time, but my instructors really made me stick to History,” he explained. “They’re the real deal and extremely prestigious in their practice."
After graduating in 2006, Mike took his interests and what he learned with the History program to travel abroad as a part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program to teach English in Japan for one year.
“Being extremely fascinated with the culture, I got the chance to experience a dream firsthand,” said Mike. “It was exactly what I needed to get myself to go somewhere completely different and realize what I really wanted in life.”
After his experience in Japan, Mike realized that he wanted to work in community organizing, so he came back to UW-Superior to pursue a second degree in Social Work. He graduated once more in 2009 with even more enlightenment from his studies.
“I came back to UW-Superior because I was so connected here,” he said. “I had an on-campus job working with Academic Service Learning, and it got me my first job working with the community. The campus changed my outlook on the world vastly, helped me come out of my comfort zone and made me realize my passion for helping others.”
Mike has traveled the world and met so many others. He believes that without having his experience in the History program, he wouldn’t have found his interest passion for helping others and community service.
“History got me engaged, and I grew so much in the program. My instructors pushed me to do better,” Mike said. “These deep connections with the amazing people on campus still give me the initiative to be a better person.”
As a part of Mike’s need to give back to the community, he co-founded and continues to maintain the Tony G 3-on-3 basketball fundraiser in memory of his friend that passed away. The fundraiser held its 12th annual event this spring, and altogether, the fundraiser has helped raise over $100,000. The money is given to on-campus organizations and community organizations.