Mike Rotter

Rider Profile
HometownNaperville, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorSpecial Education
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Hey y'all - I'm back for round 2! I'm excited to have been selected as a ride leader for this year's team. I biked across the country with the 2018 team last summer and since then I've been serving as a member of the fundraising committee for the organization. This summer I'll be making sure that everything goes smoothly and that the team will be able to have meaningful interactions with different communities across the states and collect interviews for the Portraits Project. Some of my favorite things to do on the ride included collecting license plates from the side of the road, petting llamas, eating everybody's leftover PB&Js, and listening to 'Pump Up the Jam' on repeat for 8 hours straight. When I'm back on campus I'm frequenting coffee shops to get my own work done or tutor other students. I'm a sophomore studying to be a special education teacher and I added a computer science class to my course load in a desperate attempt to avoid being one of those teachers that the students have to teach how to use basic technology. When I'm not studying, I'm cheering on the Illini basketball team or wondering to myself why I woke up at 6AM to watch a nil-nil draw between two irrelevant English football teams.

Personal Statement

While the bike ride itself is super cool - we are out there everyday riding for a cause. Last year I rode for my relatives and for my close friend. I'll still have these people in mind, but I do want to dedicate this summer to Dr. David Zola. Zola was the first professor I met in college and turned out to be my favorite. He loved teaching all of his students and he made learning fun in any way he could. In addition to letting me work as his TA, we would get coffee together and he'd help me with my career ambitions and try to convince me to take his job when he retired. In September, I found out from other faculty members that Zola had been diagnosed with cancer and he passed away shortly after. At the visitation and funeral, I saw so many other people that had been positively affected by their interactions with him. Zola did so much for the community and now I want to do this for him.