Alumni in the community give back

Four successful alumni who remain in the Bay Area have given back to the school by speaking to Mr. Karshan’s speech class or have hosted field trips at their places of work. Their stories shows that there are many paths to a career after high school.

One such alumnus is Phil Hazelrig, class of 1965, who visited the school to speak to Mr. Karshan’s speech class. Hazelrig works as a program manager and pilot for NASA’s research center at Moffett Field.  

“NASA is so fun and exciting that I call my job at NASA ‘adult space camp,’ ” Hazelrig said.  

In his senior year at BHS, Hazelrig was offered scholarships to Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and the United States Naval Academy.  

“Once I got the acceptances, it boiled down to Stanford and the Naval Academy,” Hazelrig said.  “I lost a lot of sleep over that one.”

Nevertheless, Hazelrig encourages students to “enjoy the difficulty of the decision.”

He ended up choosing the Naval Academy because it offered an active program where he would have the chance to be involved in a wide variety of programs and activities, including football. It also gave him a chance to fly planes: his ultimate goal.

Hazelrig’s term at the Naval Academy began two weeks after his graduation.  At that time at the Naval Academy, Hazelrig said, every student had to get an engineering degree. Hazelrig completed his engineering degree and went to flight training. He also completed a Masters of Business Administration degree at Chapman University.

After a 30-year career in the Navy as a fighter pilot – during which he rose to the position of Captain – Hazelrig retired, but still wanted to continue flying.  This desire landed him at NASA, where is has the opportunity to utilize both his engineering background as well as the management skills acquired from his M.B.A.  He is also a science support pilot.

At NASA, Hazelrig is in charge of a project called SOFIA, which stands for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.

“SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying an infrared telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches),” according to NASA’s website.

The project is based at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, which brought Hazelrig back to the Bay Area, and allowed him to reconnect to Burlingame High School.

Another alumnus that has reconnected with the school this year is Stephanie Adrouny, class of 1990. Adrouny, who is the vice president of news at NBC Bay Area, hosted a field trip for students interested in broadcast media.

Adrouny’s path after Burlingame began with four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a semester abroad at Cambridge University.

“I wanted to go to a place that would give me a good education and let me try a lot of things,” Adrouny said.  

Adrouny said flexibility and variety were important to her because she did not know what she wanted to do when she was applying to college.

Money was also a concern for Adrouny, who expressed that she was lucky to have access to the UC system and state system, which offer a more affordably priced and well-rounded education.

While at UC Santa Barbara, a mentor told Adrouny to try a lot of internships – advice that she passes on to all students.

“If there’s something you like in life, do an internship and see if you love it,” Adrouny said. “Try internships in as many different fields as you possibly can.”

One prominent experience Adrouny reflected on was her time at the university’s student-run radio station.

“The radio station was my first foray into broadcast journalism,” Adrouny said.

Not sure whether she wanted to go continue in radio, Adrouny took an internship with a local television station during her sophomore year.  

One day, Adrouny came in for her internship and the assignment editor had quit.  Adrouny ended up taking over the position, which, after three months of working without the formal title or job position, resulted in her “first real job”.

From there, Adrouny said she “worked [her] way up the ladder,” and eventually back to Burlingame.

“I love Burlingame,” Adrouny, who was born and raised in here, said.  “I feel very lucky to live in Burlingame and still make it part of my home.”

Katie Crawford, class of 2006, also went to UCSB after graduating from Burlingame.  Crawford, who ran cross country at Burlingame as a part of the first girls’ team to go to state in the school’s history, was recruited for cross country and track.

“I only applied to UCSB and UCLA because I had already committed to UCSB before the applications were due,” Crawford said. She said she applied to UCLA in case something fell through with her UCSB commitment.

At UCSB, Crawford got a degree in business economics and minored in sports management and accounting. She worked at Deloitte and Touche for two years in Audit, but knew that wasn’t what she wanted to do in the long-term.

“I really loved my clients that were retail,” Crawford said. “Combining my love of fashion and my love of numbers led me to global planning.”

Crawford currently works as the Director of Men’s Global Omni Planning at Banana Republic. This means that she and her team analyze global retails trends and decide what should be available to purchase for the next season.

Crawford said she entered at the lowest level when she began her career.

“My passion for business and my wanting to win has accelerated my career really quickly,” she said.

Crawford, who spoke to Mr. Karshan’s class last year, said she is “still so passionate about the Bay Area.”

“Don’t be afraid to come back to your hometown,” she said.

Alyssa Winn, who works as a speech language pathologist for a private clinic in Burlingame called TALK, also graduated from Burlingame in 2006.

Winn majored in psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz but still didn’t know what she wanted to do yet.

“The degree in psychology got me interested in research and people and helping people,” Winn said.  She said that her psychology background eventually led her to working in special education.

What caused her to ultimately end up with the career she is in now, she said, was “a very important lunch with someone who was already a speech language pathologist.”

Winn then got a postbaccalaureate in communicative disorders from Utah State University and then a Master’s degree in communicative disorders from San Francisco State University.  Before getting her Master's, she worked for the San Francisco Unified School District.

Winn said the most challenging part of her job is putting aside the stresses in her own life to be there for her clients, which can sometimes lead to “emotional burnout.”

Her favorite part, she said, is the feeling she gets “when something clicks within them,” for example a client’s first word.

The BHS alumni network stretches far, and many alumni like the Winn, Crawford, Adrouny and Hazelrig are happy to give back to the school through their engagement.  Even if students choose to leave the Bay Area after graduation, the Panther community is one of which they will always be a part.

Posted on December 19, 2017 .