Alumni return to campus to share their career paths with Upper Schoolers.
On Monday, March 4, seven alumni returned to campus to take part in Career Day, a time-honored, annual LJCDS tradition dating back to 1984. Every year, alumni spanning a variety of disciplines and class years give Upper Schoolers a glimpse of life beyond LJCDS and into the professional world. It’s an event that many alumni look back on fondly, and eagerly await the day that they return as Career Day speakers.
This year, Adrian Borsa ’84, Hunter Khaleghi ’11, Charlie Dispenzieri ’99, Rachael Lawrence Douglass ’95, Kanani Moser Breckenridge ’95, Max Lin ’99 and Danielle Kerper ’04 each spoke at Upper School assembly about their career paths before holding individual breakout sessions with the senior class. Seniors attended two sessions of their choosing, where they had the opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable insight from our alumni speakers.
Adrian Borsa ’84
Adrian is a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography whose research ranges from earthquakes to climate change. He took an atypical route to science, beginning with a bachelor's in government at Harvard University, a master's in international relations at UC San Diego, and an early career in international business focused on Japan and the United States. After several years as an expat working in Osaka for a large Japanese multinational company, he switched gears to follow one of his childhood passions (the natural world) and earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2005. Adrian worked at the U.S. Geological Survey and at the National Science Foundation’s national geodetic facility before returning to UC San Diego for full-time research in 2012. He is married to a poet and is proud to have his son Karch ’24 at LJCDS.
Hunter Khaleghi ’11
Hunter was a lifer at LJCDS, starting as a three-year-old. He played varsity football and varsity soccer and continued his football career as the placekicker at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. He graduated from RMU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing. He returned to the area and joined the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball, where he currently serves as a manager in the corporate sponsorships department.
Charlie Dispenzieri ’99
Charlie graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York, earning a bachelor's in marine engineering in 2003. After the USMMA, he joined the U.S. Navy and was selected for flight school. He earned his wings in 2005 completing his lifelong goal of becoming a Naval Aviator. Charlie was stationed in San Diego where he flew the H-60 Seahawk helicopter based on Coronado. Shortly thereafter, he suffered a spinal cord injury surfing near Scripps Pier and was medically retired from the Navy.
Charlie was forced to make an unforeseen career change. He earned a J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Currently, Charlie is corporate counsel at Sempra Energy, specializing in intellectual property and other technology-based transactions (e.g. licensing, trademarks, copyrights, and patents). Charlie is married and has a three-year-old daughter.
Rachael Lawrence Douglass ’95
Rachael is a voice coach, producer, musical director and published songwriter in Los Angeles and New York. After graduating from LJCDS, she went on to pursue her love of the arts as a theater major at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.
With about 20 years of experience, Rachel’s resume includes being the in-house vocal coach for the hit show Glee and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy for their musical event episode. She has worked with movie stars such as Rebel Wilson on all three Pitch Perfect movies and has been in the studio with recording artists such as Rachel Platten (Fight Song) and Halsey (Closer, Bad at Love). She has worked with Broadway cast members from countless shows including Hamilton, Anastasia, Book of Mormon, Sister Act, American Idiot, Jersey Boys. She has been a guest faculty member at USC teaching advanced voice to both master and bachelor of fine arts acting students. She is the co-founder of PTP Music with song placements in film and TV including General Hospital, One Life To Live, 90210, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dreamhouse and An American Girl movie series.
Kanani Moser Breckenridge ’95
Kanani started LJCDS in sixth grade and was involved in several sports, including track and field, softball and volleyball, and was named an NCA All American for cheerleading. She was also class president for three years (running unopposed for at least one of them) and associated student body vice president. Kanani attended the University of Southern California where she earned a bachelor's in creative writing and poetry.
She works at a technology recruiting firm where she has placed over 1,100 candidates and produced over $13.2M in placement fees in 20 years. It’s a combination of career counseling and matchmaking, technology edification and work flexibility. Kanani has appeared on several TV shows and media outlets to discuss career planning, hiring trends and the economy including FOX, CBS, NBC, San Diego Magazine, San Diego Business Journal and SIRIUS XM.
Max Lin ’99
Max is a lifer. He earned his degree in math from Harvard and for the last decade has been making video games. He started out at Zynga's Beijing office. Now, he makes mobile games for Warner Bros. in San Francisco. He does "product management"–which is what you get when you put a game designer, a producer and a business manager in a blender.
He started out in enterprise software, doing UX/UI programming and design. Then he moved to China because he likes adventure, and he did two years of private equity. He had a crisis of purpose and followed a childhood dream—and hasn’t looked back since.
Danielle Kerper ’04
Danielle is a project geologist with Geosyntec Consultants, an employee-owned engineering and environmental consulting company with offices around the world. She played softball at Harvard while studying earth and planetary sciences. She traveled the world during college learning about earth systems and field geology. Knowing this was something she wanted to continue with but not on the academic track, Danielle began a career in environmental consulting as a staff geologist working in remediation. Since then, she shifted focus to surface water compliance for public and private clients and completed a master’s program in sustainability. Danielle is working internally at Geosyntec to help build a sustainability-focused practice to provide compliance strategies for clients looking to reduce environmental resource use.