Major: Automotive Technology
Mark Rafacz became interested in the automotive field at a young age.
“I got to tag along a few times when my Mom took her car in to be repaired, and I remember thinking it was such a cool place,” he said. “High school was the first time I got the chance to study automotive and work inside the shop. I enjoyed the program because it was both challenging and rewarding.”
But Rafacz was undecided about a career when he finished high school. He turned to the best local option and enrolled at College of DuPage, which allowed him to explore his interests and define his goals.
“I took a wide variety of classes at the start of my academic career. I thought I would become an engineer or an architect, but I found a strong passion in automotive,” he said. “When I earned my Automotive Service Certificate, I had gained the knowledge and confidence to apply for my first automotive job.”
When I earned my Automotive Service Certificate, I had gained the knowledge and confidence to apply for my first automotive job.
Rafacz worked at several different auto repair shops and increased his knowledge. In addition, he returned to COD, first as a part-time evening lab assistant and then as a full-time lab assistant in the Automotive Technology program.
“I genuinely enjoy my job as I get to work directly with both teachers and students while performing many different tasks. No one day is the same, which keeps me both busy and motivated. My ultimate career goal is to become a full-time instructor.”
He has now completed his Associate in Applied Science degree and started his automotive bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University. His duties at COD now include teaching an automotive class for non-majors.
Rafacz advises any students considering the Automotive Technology program to stay true to themselves.
“You can choose a career for many reasons but without passion, it is just a job,” he said. “Find a trustworthy mentor and be open to honest feedback that can help you grow in your field and as young adult. Always have a hunger to learn and never stop believing in yourself!”