Higher Education Changed His Life: DBU Ph.D. Student and Director of Recruitment for Military & Veteran Services - Marlon Iván Ríos

Marlon Rios Headshot

Born in Mexico, and immigrating with his family to the U.S. at the age of six, Marlon Iván Ríos watched his parents work multiple jobs and learned the importance of hard work early on in life. This ethic passed on to Marlon led him to achieve different endeavors – including service in the United States Army for six years in the 82nd Airborne Division and Special Operations with deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Following his time in the military, Marlon enrolled in school even though people told him it was not for him.

After successfully completing his undergraduate degree, he continued his higher education with a master's degree in theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. Intending to pursue a doctorate in theological studies, he quickly realized, however, that no one in the local church asked him “how the Greek, middle voice works,” or “why is the participle verb essential,” or “Karl Barth’s view on election.” While he considered these questions worthy of consideration, Marlon discovered that he was lacking the advanced leadership knowledge and training needed to serve the church.

Marlon met different alumni from DBU's doctoral programs all across the state, some of whom are presidents at universities, CEOs of leading establishments, as well as pastors and professors. At that moment, he realized that if he wanted to serve well in the local church and in the community, he needed to learn how to lead. This led Marlon to enroll in DBU's Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program in May 2018. Marlon also travels around the State of Texas sharing his story on how higher education has changed his life. He believes in malleable learning, and he is on a mission to convince others that education can be for them, too.

While working on his Ph.D., Marlon also currently serves as DBU's Director of Recruitment for Military and Veteran Services with the opportunity to network with veterans and companies that employ veterans and share with them all that DBU has to offer as a Military-Friendly University. "We are intentional in walking with our veterans through their education and their struggles," says Marlon. "I am looking forward to spreading the good news of education for veterans. I realize that my time in the military and my challenges with my transition from active duty to civilian life was tough, and God used that experience to prepare me for this new role. DBU helps me cope with my issues; I know that others will benefit from that."

Written by Kathleen Sotomayor

Kathleen Sotomayor writes for University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.