By Erica Quinones and Olivia Montes
Editor in Chief and News Co-Editor
The Office of Student Affairs welcomed two members to their team, Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ’12 and Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Success Tricia Biles.
Jordan is originally from Frederick, Md. and currently lives in Annapolis. He first came to Washington College as a student with his twin brother, Stephan. Jordan studied international studies and theatre.
During his WC career, Jordan was active in a litany of extracurriculars, including working as a Peer Mentor and in the Student Events Board; serving on the Honor Board and as a senator in the Student Government Association; being a member of the Douglas Cater Society for Junior Fellows; and performing in WACappella.
After graduation, Jordan found himself working as an admissions counselor at the higher education technology company, 2U, and as a special events coordinator for Center for American Progress, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.
The latter job was “an incredible experience,” according to Jordan, which saw him working with major federal government officials, such as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Clintons, and other figures.
However, Jordan has now returned to his alma mater as a staff member, saying that his “amazing experience” led him back to WC.
“I knew that I could draw a lot of my passions that I have for WC and draw on the really wonderful experience I had as a student and help in any way I can to make sure that future generations of WC students have the same opportunities to grow and learn and connect with [their] peers in the very short amount of time that [they’re] here,” Jordan said.
Jordan began his new position as director of Student Engagement in late June. He will continue to advise the Student Events Board and SGA, oversee Greek life, and lead new student orientation as well as extra- and co-curricular activities, according to a July 27 email from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Sarah Feyerherm.
In his new position, Jordan said he plans on continuing WC traditions, such as Shoremal, George Washington’s Birthday Ball, and War on the Shore throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, granting students “a real robust opportunity to engage socially” during their college years.
He also hopes to see students become closer both as a College community and as part of the Chestertown community through volunteer opportunities.
“I think that a lesson that helped inspire me through the COVID-19 pandemic is life is short, time can’t be wasted, and you have to jump on opportunities when you can,” Jordan said. “Knowing that we are still living in not necessarily a post-pandemic world…I want to make sure that I help facilitate a really important aspect of being at college, which is your social and extracurricular experience.”
Jordan said that his door is always open for students, whether they are interested in starting a club, getting involved with the campus community, or need someone to talk to who has experienced similar collegiate stresses.
“Just with my experiences as an alum, if you are having a really rough time and you’re struggling through a certain part of your schoolwork or life in general, I’m happy to be an open door [or] a shoulder to cry on; my office is a safe space,” Jordan said. “I’ve been here too, and I know that there are good times and there are bad times in your undergraduate experience, especially being at WC.”
While Biles is not a WC alumna, she does come from nearby in Kent County.
Biles worked at Capital District YMCA and as the assistant education director at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Kent County. She filled the latter position for 18 years and often interacted with some of the College’s Peer Mentors, Residential Assistants, student athletes, and members of Greek life.
According to Biles, joining the WC team is “a phenomenal bridge from my skills in leadership development…and transferring those skills to WC is exciting.”
Biles first learned about the open assistant dean position when she consulted Dr. Feyerherm after her position at Capital District YMCA was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stepping into her new role in late July, Biles is responsible for supervising and supporting the director of Student Engagement, leading the Office of Student Engagement’s student retention and success program, collaborating with the Provost’s Office on student retention, and overseeing the Peer Mentor program.
Another major part of her job is coordinating the online management of the CARE report system, which she said “is very much an embodiment of my job, because a CARE report can come in from a concern of a student in any realm here at the College.”
“Being someone who facilitates smooth processes and procedures to help guide students to have a successful, thriving college experience, I can do that through [this] system. I want to make sure that those assignments that I have, whether they are committees or they are tasks [to ensure that] all processes are smooth, they are efficient and working on behalf of our student population,” Biles said.
According to Biles, she feels fulfilled and welcomed by the WC community, and she hopes to establish and maintain a strong relationship with students across campus.
“I would hope that folks know that I am a strong advocate for students and also a champion for student voices,” Biles said. “I can help students find their own personal agency to effect change and make the most of their college experiences, and I can be a partner in that, and that is something I would love to help students navigate.”
“What they [Antoine and Tricia] both have in common is this incredible curiosity and interest in the development of young people in the campus setting,” Dr. Feyerherm said. “Some might think lack of experience on a College campus would be a liability but for both of them, it’s actually a huge benefit. They have come in with this incredible energy about what can be done, [and] they see Washington College and its students for what they are and all of the possibilities that are out there for them to have a transformational experience.”
Photos by Izze Rios