Q&A with Dustin McMillan
Updated: Oct 3, 2022
By Alyxander LaBranche
Dustin McMillan is the Student Success and Well-Being Coordinator at Rochester University. He joined RU as an employee this summer and graduated from RU in 2017.
What is your position at Rochester University?
"Erica Suszek, Director of Student Success and Well-Being, and I help students transition from high school into college life. We assist in general well-being, like mental health, and we also focus on academic success. We host events for students including the craft corner that took place recently, where we made crystal-wrapped jewelry. We've also done a Vroom-Vroom car care workshop to teach students how to jump a car battery, change a tire, check your oil, and talk about how to take your car in for regular maintenance. We help with college life outside of academics. That’s the best way to put it."
What brought you to RU, and why did you choose to work here?
"I graduated from Rochester College, and I always felt like a part of the community. It felt like a home away from home. So, when there was a job posting for something I would be good at, I wanted to be back in that community. When I was a student I was one of those people who could slip through the cracks because I seemed like I was doing okay, and so I wanted to be for current students what I didn’t have."
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
"Building relationships with students. I feel that’s most rewarding because I’m a pretty relatable guy. My major was Youth and Family Ministry. I was in a full-time Youth Ministry for a few years, and the most rewarding part of that job was building relationships with students. So, it is likewise with this job that the most rewarding part is making relationships with students. It’s just part of who I am, and it’s my philosophy of ministry and life."
What do you do to have fun or relieve stress, or what Is your favorite hobby?
"I really enjoy comic books and all forms of superhero media, movies, tv shows, and comics. I like marvel, and I would say I’m more of a DC guy, but that doesn’t mean I dislike marvel. Not just superhero comics, but other genres also."
Where did you grow up, describe?
"I grew up in a rural town in southeastern Ohio, near the northern panhandle of West Virginia, about an hour and a half outside of Pittsburgh. It is a small town; there were hay bales in a field across from my middle school. Kids would often miss a week of school to go to the county fair because they were showing animals. I was one of the only students in class on the first day of deer season."
What is your favorite thing to do in the Rochester area or Michigan?
"So, specifically Rochester, I like the Clinton River Trail. I really like going on the side trails that stem off of it and exploring. But in the greater area, I really like going to the Eastern Market in Detroit, and I also like going to sporting events downtown."
What in your life do you feel most passionate about?
"Building relationships with people, whether that’s K-12 students, college students, or just people in the communities that I’m involved in already."
What is your most embarrassing moment?
"When I was in high school, I was in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. I had a solo, and I nailed it during every rehearsal, but for every single show, I froze up and didn’t sing a note, all like five showings of it."
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
"My biggest obstacle was probably moving five and a half hours away from my hometown when I was 18."
What is a random fun fact about you?
"Whether they are good or not, I like doing different voices and impersonations. I think they’re fine, other people might disagree. I enjoy doing them, but I don’t know if they’re good."
What single piece of advice would you give to students today?
"I have two; use a planner or a calendar app, I’m serious. It’s what I didn’t do when I was a student, and I paid for it. Also, use and become familiar with the resources provided to you, whether on-campus or off-campus resources. Here in the Center for Student Life, our Student Success and Well-Being team, Erica and myself, and our wellness Peer Ambassadors here are looking out for all of you. You can always come to talk to us, and even if we're not the people, we can point you in the direction of the right people. Something not a lot of people know about is we do offer counseling on campus. If you have more questions about that, you can come to talk to Erica and me, and we can point you in the right direction."