For Trinity seniors, Nathan Willkie and Isaac McQuillen, their respective journeys to the Naval Academy share some common themes. Willkie grew up in a military family in Hawaii and knew he wanted to attend the USNA when a Midshipman visited his school. “I had made up my mind pretty early that I wanted to be in the Navy. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, or how I was going to get there, but when a Midshipman came to my school in the 8th grade in Hawaii, I saw a leader. I wanted to be like him.” For McQuillen, attending the Naval Academy wasn’t on his radar until he and his dad visited the summer before his sophomore year. “We were flying out of Baltimore after a (lacrosse) tournament in Delaware. My dad had been in the Navy, but he hadn’t attended the Academy. I applied for their summer seminar program to see if the Academy was right for me and after just a few days there, I realized ‘regular’ college wasn’t for me. I wanted to attend the Naval Academy.”
Each of them went through the lengthy application process and each had their own takeaways. “The application process isn’t for the faint of heart!” McQuillen said. “Included in the application process are the typical items such as standardized test scores, high school grades, essays, clubs and activities, BUT THEN, there is also a physical fitness assessment, a medical assessment, and an interview with a Naval Officer. After all that, you must apply for a nomination from a congressman or senator.” Willkie agreed with McQuillen’s description of the application process. “My application process – and I do mean process – started in January of my junior year. I attended the Academy Summer Seminar, a one-week immersion program. After that, it felt like a steady stream of paperwork until I submitted my final packet. When I received my early acceptance letter from the Academy a few weeks later, I could have jumped over the moon!”
Both guys are extremely excited to take on the challenges that the Academy will present. “I can’t wait to get there!” Willkie exclaimed. “Plebe summer is right around the corner. It’s going to be tough, but it’s something I’m looking forward to immensely. I’ve been given an absolutely fantastic opportunity, and I look forward to the challenges it will bring.” For McQuillen, meeting new people is something that he’s looking forward to. “I am most excited to meet new people that are from different walks of life yet share the same feeling of duty to our country. It’s going to be a little nerve wracking balancing the difficult course load with the military training, but many have gone before me and succeeded and that gives me motivation to do the same.”
Trinity has played a big role in each of their lives as they prepare for the Naval Academy. “I wish I had become a Shamrock earlier!” Willkie said. “I transferred to Trinity last year and the moral foundation that Trinity builds in you is something that I will not only take with me to the Academy, but for my life beyond. Being a part of the brotherhood of the cross country and track teams sum up what makes Trinity so special. The guys were so welcoming and now they’re some of my best friends.” McQuillen credits being involved in Trinity throughout his four years as preparing him for the Academy. “Being in the Advanced Program has prepared me by challenging me academically. Balancing my studies while also being Merton House Executive Captain, Trinity’s Sergeant at Arms and President of Trinity’s Best Buddies program has taught me important lessons about time management and making the most out of every moment.”
Trinity is so proud of you guys and we wish you nothing but the best as you take on your next challenge at the Naval Academy!