#NobleIntegrity: Amy Jones Satrom ’98

Friday, August 23, 2019
Amy Jones Satrom ’98

Sitting in front of her computer as we talk via video chat, Amy Jones Satrom ’98’s deep blue eyes are lit up by the morning light slanting through the windows behind her. In the background, loud laughter and calls from her children are interrupted by her husband’s deep tones as he makes them breakfast. Satrom is an eager, organized storyteller, as she details the incredible journey she took to become the woman she is today.

Satrom’s family moved to North Carolina after they’d fallen on hard times. A dedicated swimmer all her life, Satrom wanted to continue pursuing the sport in high school and considered it to be an important part of her ability to move forward. It quickly became clear, however, that the small town Satrom now called home was not sufficient to hold her dreams. The swimming programs in the area weren’t anywhere near what she was accustomed to, and any decent programs that would sufficiently challenge her were hours away. Swimming was no longer an issue of following a passion. If Satrom hoped to attend college, she needed any scholarship she could procure, and swimming was one of her best bets. That’s when a family friend, also a swimmer, suggested that Satrom apply to Mercersburg Academy, an institution renowned for its stellar swimming program. For Satrom, Mercersburg was perfect. Not only did it have a rigorous and challenging academic environment, but it fostered some of the best swimmers in the world. She applied and was accepted as a Lenfest Scholar.

While at Mercersburg, Satrom quickly became an active participant in the community. When she wasn’t in the pool, she was running on the track or hitting balls on the softball field. She was also the Irving Society president and a participant in student government. Satrom found what almost every Mercersburg student is familiar with: a diverse international community that opened her eyes to multicultural worldviews. She was particularly struck by the postgraduates, many of whom intended to go to various military service schools before they headed to college. After becoming close friends with several graduates who moved on to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Satrom decided to serve her country by joining the U.S. Navy.

The rigorous academic system at Mercersburg certainly equipped Satrom for the multifaceted challenges of the Naval Academy. “I was probably better prepared than 95 percent of the students there,” she says. Just as she did at Mercersburg, Satrom quickly rose to fill roles of leadership, and she became the fourth woman to serve as a brigade commander, attaining this rank in the first semester of her senior year. This left her in charge of overseeing the Brigade of Midshipmen and leading parades. 

Her life as a military servicemember and citizen was rocked to its core as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. At the time of the attacks, Satrom was miles away from the Brigade, visiting West Point. When she learned of the attacks, all she wished for was to return to the Naval Academy and help the Bridge deal with the tragedy—both as their leader and as a soldier.

Satrom served for five years, during which time she visited several countries, including a period at Cambridge University to study engineering for sustainable development. After finishing her military service, she spent some time in the defense sector and then was offered a position with Amazon, directing the building of fulfillment centers during Amazon's high growth phase. Amazon took her family to Paris for a few years where she led the Computing and Electronics businesses. She was then offered a position with 23andMe, which brought her family back to the US.  23andMe, at the time, was a small company aiming to scale its growth. Satrom was attracted to the mission of the company, particularly how genetics could be used to predict the diseases one might be prone to and help delay or ultimately prevent the onset of those diseases. She now serves as 23andMe’s vice president of operations, a continuation of her incredible aptitude for leadership first demonstrated at Mercersburg.

Editor’s Note: Eliza DuBose ’20, of Rollinsville, Colorado, is a Writing Center Fellow, a Language Media Center Ambassador, and a member of Stony Batter Players.