The Career Cafe and Collier Alumni

The Career Cafe and Collier Alumni
Posted on 06/15/2016
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Alumni of Collier High School - a NJ Alternative High School

The 1st Annual CAREER CAFÉ event this year presented speakers from various professions during seven days in February.  Collier HS was fortunate to have three of our alumni discuss their careers and journeys with the students.  While students snacked on cookies and trail mix they enjoyed various presentations from a doctor, attorney, college professor, chef, an author, and a construction union representative, just to name a few.  We were also fortunate to have Collier alumni return to speak about their professions. CHS alumnus, Christine Smith, Class of 1987, who is currently an Emergency Room registered nurse at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, spoke to the students about her career.  Christine graduated from Middlesex County College in 1989 and then graduated from the Charles E. Gregory Nursing School in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1992 as an RN.  She immediately began her career at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and found it to be an extremely rewarding one.  Christine encouraged students to volunteer at their local hospital where they may be able to shadow the nurses and ask more pointed questions.  She also encouraged them to follow their interests because a hospital has many different entry level medical careers.  Christine currently resides in Old Bridge with her husband and two daughters. 

Alumni of Collier High School - a NJ Alternative High SchoolAlicia Lazzari, Class of 1996, has been the creative director for a design company called Jegou Design in Roosevelt, NJ since 2006.  It is a full service creative design agency that does everything from print, web & art direction for film to big trade shows.  Alicia works directly with clients to help hone and perfect their vision.  “I hope I will always surpass their expectations.  It’s a fun job where I get to work mainly from home.”   Her partner in business, Kurt Jegou according to Alicia, is a branding and market wizard.  Alicia noted that she was happy to revisit Collier and humbled by the request to speak with students about being a graphic designer. She was fascinated by the many changes to Collier since her graduation. 

Alumni of Collier High School - a NJ Alternative High SchoolChristopher Schickler, Class of 2010, graduated from Brookdale Community College in May 2015 with an AAS degree in Digital animation and 3D Design. He was accepted at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta Georgia where he will be majoring in Interactive design. Chris noted that he chose this major because it is more practical & marketable but also includes some 3D Animation & Design.

He wanted the students to know that this is a profession in which one must be fully committed because the competition is extremely stiff. “I am very much into computers but unless your whole heart is in this, it will be challenging to succeed. You have to be on it all the time, enjoying it a lot isn’t enough.”

Chris noted that coming to speak to students was like being home again. He hopes to return so that he can describe his career path in a more interactive way.  Maybe we can make it happen during winter break 2017.

The Career Café will return this winter 2017, at which time we welcome all Collier HS alumni to share information about their careers with our students.  Please contact Barbara Zmich at for more details.