One in Two Thousand: Jordan Wynn ’26

Lena Kerest

Photo courtesy of Jordan Wynn.

Each week, the Record (using a script in R) randomly selects a student at the College for our One in Two Thousand feature, excluding current Record board members. This week, Jordan Wynn ’26 discussed the Navy, computer science, and being a Student with Advanced Life Experiences (SwALE). This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Lena Kerest (LK): Can you tell me about your journey coming to the College?

Jordan Wynn (JW): Absolutely. It was a little bit of a different one. I was in the Navy for nine years and sailed the world. Then I decided that I wanted to try education again, so I went home to Maryland and stayed in my parents’ basement for about a year and went to community college. Then I transferred to Williams, and I’ve been happy [here] ever since.

LK: That’s awesome. You said you sailed around the world. What’s your favorite place that you’ve seen or visited?

JW: I think my favorite place is probably a tie. I loved London, and I loved Japan. For Japan, it’s just such a different society. It’s so wild to see how things are different from the United States. And then I just love the London vibe, the accent, the rhyming scheme, and everything like that — I think it’s so cool. And the history of an ancient place. Also, getting the chance to sail through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean is [something] that a lot of people will never get to experience. 

LK: Do you think you’ll ever return to those places?

JW: Absolutely. My goal is to get back overseas. I have to go back to Japan. I have to go back to England and explore the whole country. So we’ll see if I get there.

LK: That’s cool. How long were you in each place?

JW: I was only in London for about three days, but I got to sail on the British flagship HMS Ocean for a couple of weeks. I experienced a lot of the culture there because [we got] to know our British counterparts and see how they live. And [I was] in Japan for about a month and a half. 

LK: What was your role in the Navy?

JW: I was the information systems technician. It sounds like we just do computer stuff, but actually we do all the exterior communications on the ship. I controlled the radio frequency spectrums that we use, and I used antennae to get internet on the ship.  So I controlled the internet and all the servers and the networks that it runs through, and also all the radios that people would use.

LK: How did you learn to do all that? Did they train you in the Navy? Or did you have a background in this before?

JW: I love computers, but I had no real background in it. The Navy trains you. They do a decent job of sending you to school. The way it works is you go to boot camp first. Then, once you’ve done boot camp, you go to your job school, and my job school was about a year and a half. Every day you go in there, and you learn about computers and radios, and once you graduate you go to the fleet. It never stops because you’re always learning on the job because every shift is different. Once you’ve learned that method of learning and picking up new things, it’s kind of easy. 

LK: Have you found that method of learning helpful at the College? 

JW: A little bit, but it’s different. Where you could put your hands on your equipment and learn it that way in the Navy, here a lot of it is theoretical, so you have to take the time to read it and go over and practice it. On the ship, you learn [something], and then you get to go apply it instantly. I feel like [that’s] a little bit easier. It’s more strenuous for me to learn here because I have to really dive into the subjects — [but that] is great. It’s the reason why I came here. 

LK: What has been your favorite class so far?

JW: I think the history course that I’m taking with Professor [Tyran] Steward is my favorite because it’s taught me a lot about myself, being a Black man. The class has taught me about how complicated race relations are, even between African Americans. [Steward’s] class allows me to take that nuanced step back and look at things from different perspectives and maybe not rush to conclusions as much as I did. I really enjoy that.

LK: I first heard about you from Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton because I was interviewing her about her time working at the College. I asked if there was a student that I could talk to who did really well or enjoyed the office’s Winter Study class, and she said, “You have to talk to Jordan.” Could you tell me about your experience in that class?

JW: Yeah, that class was absolutely incredible thanks to Collette, Abigail [Wattley ’05], Morgan [Kochard], and the whole Williams Investment Office. They’re incredible people. They care so much about connecting students to roles in finance. The first time Collette came into our class, she gave a speech about her career and let us ask lots of questions. One thing that stuck out to me was she went to every single person in the room and shook their hands. She really looked you in the eyes and wanted to know you. Having those resources and connecting with alums here is so cool. It makes you feel like you’re really a part of something. I never thought I’d be part of something this close. I was a part of the Navy — we’re a brotherhood, of course — but with only 2,000 students here, it’s amazing how close everything feels. 

LK: On a similar note, what would you say is your favorite thing about the College? 

JW: I love the environment. It’s a little bit remote, but I think that kind of makes us closer. I think my favorite part about the College is the community and how accessible everybody is. If you have a question, you can ask it. Somebody’s going to answer, and it’s not going to be a bad thing. I don’t want to talk down on the Navy, but in such a hierarchical society [on the ship], there’s a rank-based structure. You feel like you can’t ask questions sometimes. But here, I feel like I can say hi to [President] Maud [S. Mandel]. I love that.

LK: That’s wonderful. I totally agree. You’ve taken a different route than most to get here. Have you found it difficult to acclimate or find your place? 

JW: Socially, I’ve never had an issue here, which I love. I’m 30 right now. I thought, coming here at 30, people would be like, “Oh my God. He’s so old and lame.” But most people don’t treat me differently. They’re just like, “He’s just a normal dude like me.” So socially, I didn’t have that much of an adjustment. Academically, it was hard. I’ve been out of school for 10 years, so it doesn’t come to me as quickly now. The first semester was a little bit difficult for me, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. And, in the grand scheme of things, grades don’t matter that much. [What matters is] what you get out of your time here. I’m getting a lot from it. 

LK: If you could pick your dream job after Williams, what would it be?

JW: This is going to sound weird from a computer science major, but I think my dream job is to be a music producer or a creative director, which is so weird because I don’t have any art background. I love going to art museums. I do it all the time. But I’ve never been a formal art student. I feel like that would be a job that I would love to wake up and do every single day. And there are a lot of rappers and singers who come out of the Navy.

LK: Awesome. Where do you live on campus?

JW: I actually live off campus in SwALE Housing for students over 24.

LK: You’re in an entry, right? Do you spend time with your entry? 

JW: I keep promising [my JAs] that I’ll come to Mission more often. Tim [Gore ’24], Fiona [Seibert ’24], and Jaquelin [Nordhoff ’24], if you read this, I’m sorry. Some of my [entrymates] are in my classes, so I get to see them. They’re super nice. But I live on Hoxsey Street, and to Mission, that’s far. 

LK: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of this beautiful day?

JW: I’ll take a walk to the Clark for sure. Then I have to study for my math midterm.