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We Are Dallas College: Marcus Russell

How did you hear about the mechatronics program at Dallas College?

A friend of mine told me he was teaching a mechatronics course and that he needed some help advertising it. I have a nonprofit called Commissary is Very Necessary, so I started helping him and was advertising the program. Then, I thought, maybe I should join the program. One of the reasons why I wanted to join was because when I used to work for Dallas College, I was one of the original people who helped build the mechatronics program when it started at the Mountain View Campus. So, it’s been a full circle moment for me. I didn’t join the program to get a job, I just joined to get more skills and to help my nonprofit.

What benefits have you received by taking on this program?

Recently, I attended a hiring event at the Cedar Valley Campus and filled out an application and completed an assessment for Walmart. About a day or two later, they called to tell me I received the highest score they’d seen on the test and that they wanted to hire me and would wait for me to finish school to start the new job. I’ll be making more than $40 an hour and will have a 401k with complete insurance, plus they’re paying for college. It’s been a big blessing and it’s all because of this mechatronics program.

What advice would you give someone who lacks confidence in pursuing their dreams?

The sky is the limit. If you have a vision, then it can happen. Be confident in yourself and your ability. Don’t doubt anything. Dallas College has all the resources for you. If you need help paying for gas or rent, or you need food or help with your mental health, they are there for you on all levels. These programs give you the opportunity to become an asset.

What exactly is mechatronics?

Mechatronics is the in and out of robotics and mechanics. My first certification taught me about electrical circuits, how electricity works and how motors work with electricity. If you’re familiar with cars, you’ll be familiar with most of the certifications within the mechatronics program. The best way I can describe what we do is troubleshooting. We’re learning to troubleshoot everything. In this day and age, it’s not about repairs but about replacements. You’re being taught how to be a multiskilled technician.

Why is a job in this industry so important?

This job deals with the past and the future. Automated warehouses are coming. There will be a need for multiskilled technicians that can program the computers and troubleshoot the problems whether they are mechanical or electrical. The future is based on robotics and technology, which is where everything is continuing to head. So, these types of jobs teach you how to program the computer and how to fix them. Those skills are vital in all aspects.

What legacy do you want to leave?

The legacy I want to leave is one of community activism. I’m passionate about being an activist for human rights and the environment. Through my nonprofit, I want children to change the world through hydroponics and aeroponics because that’s the future. This mechatronics program has given me the power to enable kids, especially those in low-income communities. I want my organization to continue to give hope and show that there is potential to save the world in a healthy environmental way.

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

Published inWhy Dallas College?