As a child, DeRon Jordan (B.S. in Public Policy ’14) played with his toy cars, buses and trucks and organized them around transportation stops. Now a transit planner at Capital Area Transit in Harrisburg, Pa., Jordan has navigated a lot of rough patches, never realizing that his childhood interest would be the foundation for his career.
As a teenager, Jordan attended the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA) due to his talent as a visual artist. He left CAPA and attended another Pittsburgh high school, but quickly became discouraged with the curriculum and scheduling, so he dropped out and obtained his GED.
Feeling the need to do something different, DeRon decided to move away. He chose Atlanta to be his new home based on a friend’s suggestion.
“I bought a $35 one-way bus ticket from Pittsburgh to Atlanta and immediately stared homelessness in the face,” said Jordan, who was 19 years old at the time. “I started off in East Point living with someone near Washington Road, and then I rented rooms in the Turner Field, Midtown and Carver Homes areas. I also lived in Clarkston for five years.”
Jordan began his college career at Georgia Perimeter College before he transferred to Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School. He describes himself as “restless” during that period in his life. Yet one of his fondest memories was his interest in transportation, which ultimately led him to major in public policy.
He graduated cum laude in May 2014. “I was really excited to be among the few people in my family to graduate from college,” he says.
After graduation, he worked for a year as a planning intern for MARTA. He then left Atlanta for a transportation consultant position with Michael Baker International in Harrisburg.
Now 33, Jordan’s short-term goal is to work for the transit agency. He wants to be a transportation consultant in Europe by the time he turns 40.
“Coming to Atlanta and then to GSU, I grew up. I got my first apartment, I learned to be self-sufficient, and then I received my degree,” he said.
“It’s important to have a dream or goal and actualize it. I look around and look at my goals and accomplishments, and I feel satisfied.”