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Student Spotlight

Aaron Hunnel

Aaron Hunnel

“Learning here has really helped me grow as an individual. I try to apply a lot of classroom information and skills to my life which has been very beneficial.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Appleton, WI

Current residence: Appleton, WI

When attended UWFox: Fall 2007-Spring 2011

Background before UWFox

I graduated from Tomah High School in the summer of 2003.  Contemplating what to do with my life after high school I decided to join the Wisconsin Army National Guard as a paralegal in the JAG Corps.  After my initial training I came back to Wisconsin and worked full time in the Guard with the Mobile Event Team - a division that worked with recruiting. My team and I transported a portable rock climbing wall to different areas of the state promoting the Army National Guard.  In April 2006 I was called up to deploy to Iraq/Kuwait where I served a year and a half on active duty.  I actually received my acceptance letter to UWFox while I was in the desert.

Why did you choose UWFox?

UWFox just made sense.  I was living in Appleton, dating someone (now my wife), and wanted to attend a campus close by.  My wife was also already attending college here so I decided it was in my best interest to work towards an associate degree while deciding my major.  I will be receiving my associate degree at the end of this semester.

Have you chosen a major?

I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Wellness, with a coaching minor, through UW-Stevens Point.

What are you learning that you find interesting and rewarding at UWFox?

Learning here has really helped me grow as an individual. I try to apply a lot of classroom information and skills to my life which has been very beneficial. I really enjoy how classes at the university prepare you for other courses.  It’s great to use the knowledge from one course to another.  The faculty is also great!  Being able to have all your professors know you individually is a luxury that students at a much larger university don’t have. 

What are your career plans after UWFox?

I really want to get a career that relates the fundamentals of a healthy life with sports. Whether it is at a gym or on the field, I have a passion for sports and athletics and really want to work with athletes and help them achieve their goals.

Other interesting things about yourself that you’d like to share?

I’m currently training for my second Boston Marathon. I ran my first Boston Marathon in Iraq at Camp Adder in 2010, which qualified me for the 2011 race in Boston.  I’m definitely excited to run on a paved road this year compared to the dirt and sand last year.  If you asked two years ago if I wanted to run 26.2 miles I would have thought you were out of your mind.  Even after I completed my first marathon, I thought to myself, “This was my worst idea ever!” But somehow, I’ve managed to find myself in getting ready to run in another one. I would reasonably argue that marathons are addicting! If you run one, you will probably run another.

Football is my passion and ultimately the sport I want to work in. I really try to be in the sport as much as possible so I play in flag football leagues throughout the Fox Valley. I am also the special teams coach for the Kimberly Storm, a semi professional football team in the Northern Elite Football League.  For those of you football fans who can’t wait for fall, our games start early next month (May)!

I currently work for Trial Defense for the Wisconsin Army National Guard.  I’m proud of this because this is a brand new organization established last year, and I was chosen to take charge as the sole paralegal where I have created and implemented standard procedures, built networks through various commands in the state, and also introduced ideas beneficial to my team and our clients.  I have a lot of fun doing this job!

I just took my first actual vacation—my honeymoon to Maui during spring break.  My wife and I had a blast. We saw humpback whales and spinner dolphins, snorkeled with sea turtles and schools of fish; I even had an octopus the size of a basketball right in my face! One of the trips we did was the road to Hana.  It took three and a half hours to drive 50 miles—a total of 617 turns while driving on a cliff with nothing but ocean out the window!  We then hiked 2 miles up the dormant volcano to witness and stand under a 400 foot waterfall. It was like standing under a pressure sprayer and was freezing cold! It was overall an amazing trip.

Lastly, I am going through Right of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) at St. Pious located in Appleton. This process started in September of 2010, so although lengthy, I am glad to complete this journey which is a huge personal accomplishment. Right before Easter I will be confirmed as an adult member of the church.

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