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Finding himself

Posted 1:56 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

For UWL's Michael Quintero Bungert, who will graduate Sunday with a bachelor's degree in social studies education, college has been a time of self-reflection and self-exploration. “Coming from a small town in Minnesota, it was hard for me to fully develop or express my identity as both Mexican and American," he says. "At UWL, I have had time to explore and figure out who I am."

UWL helped December grad explore his identity, prepare for his future

For Michael Quintero Bungert, college has been about much more than finding a career.

It’s also been about finding himself.

“At UWL, I have had time to explore and figure out who I am,” says Quintero Bungert, who will graduate Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in social studies education. “Coming from a small town in Minnesota, it was hard for me to fully develop or express my identity as both Mexican and American. With my time at UWL, I was able to explore this identity with the help of my professors, my classmates and multicultural organizations such as the Latin American Student Organization (LASO).”

A native of Pine Island, Minnesota, Quintero Bungert says he was drawn to UWL through word of mouth and the natural beauty of the campus and community.

Almost immediately, he found his place at UWL.

He joined LASO his first year on campus and soon transitioned into leadership roles. His junior year, he served first as the organization's vice president and then as its president.

“Meeting people who were also exploring their identities as Latinx students really helped with my own identity exploration,” he explains. “They were facing the same things I had to, so being able to share experiences or even just knowing I wasn’t alone was great. I wanted to help LASO be a resource and space for Latinx students who were finding their own way.”

In the classroom, Quintero Bungert has learned how he can support and empower students once he becomes a teacher.

It’s been helpful, he says, “having education classes where I learned how to best implement what I learned from my past classes, and also how to include marginalized groups and their voices into topics I will teach in the future.”

Quintero Bungert says he has enjoyed the history courses he has taken, particularly those taught by Professor Víctor Macías-González.

Macías-González has been impressed with Quintero Bungert as well.

“I saw him blossom in some Latino and Latin American history classes,” Macías-González notes. “And then I saw him in action as a student leader in the Latino student org.”

After graduation, Quintero Bungert plans to work as a substitute teacher in the La Crosse area before looking for a more permanent teaching position in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

He knows he’ll miss UWL and the campus groups of which he’s been a part, including LASO and the men’s ultimate Frisbee team.

Most of all, he’ll miss the people.

“I have really enjoyed being able to meet some amazing people at UWL,” he says. “Taking multiple classes with the same professors allowed me to be more comfortable in the classroom and make connections at UWL. Similarly, being friends with students in the same major … created a support system for my classmates and myself.”


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