Alumni Spotlight: Conrad Ukropina (’08)

“Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.”

—George S. Patton

By Norma Richman

My Brief Bio—

Hello High Point friends and family!  I am happy and excited that Mrs. Richman reached out to me to share what I’ve been up to.  High Point was an incredibly important experience in my life, one that shaped my work ethic, attitude, moral compass, and helped me gain life-long friends.

Currently, I am a first year MBA student at Stanford Business School.  I am exploring the investing and entrepreneurial spaces, and directly involved in the consulting, venture capital, and entrepreneurship clubs.  I’m doing an in-year internship with Sequoia Capital’s venture team, where I am working with partners to help build better automated models to source current and future high-caliber founders.  If you are starting a company, or thinking about it, I’d love to hear from you!

Before business school, I went to Stanford for my undergraduate and graduate degrees, where I received a B.A. in STS and an M.A. in Communication Systems, with a Master’s Thesis in virtual reality.  When I graduate, I will have attended Stanford for 7 years.  During my undergrad and Master’s degree programs, I served as a placekicker on the varsity football team, where I was fortunate to play in three Rose Bowls here in Pasadena—an experience I’ll never forget!

After my undergrad work, I spent a year playing in the NFL, where I was on five different rosters in the offseason of 2017.  This was a unique and humbling experience, where I learned how to be a professional athlete and compete at a high level.  Unfortunately, this time was limited, and after a year of bouncing from city to city and team to team, I was ready to move into the corporate world. I then started working at McKinsey & Company in San Francisco as a business analyst, focusing on private equity, growth, and the digital/consumer spaces.  McKinsey is sponsoring my business school tuition, and I plan on returning to their New York Office for a few years after I graduate.  It has been a fun ride!

My High Point Experience—

I look back on my High Point experience with a special admiration and appreciation.  I attended K-8, graduating in 2008.  I absolutely loved my classmates and keep in touch with many of them frequently.  Perhaps the best part of High Point was the teachers, who held us accountable to perform at a high level at all times.  I remember vividly starting at Loyola High School in 2008, feeling prepared and ready to take AP and Honors-level courses my freshman year—a testament to the curriculum, program, and teaching skills across the board at HPA.

Whenever I’m back home in Pasadena, one of my favorite activities is to run The Hill behind High Point. Actually, my Eagle Scout project was digging The Hill, putting in steps, and setting up mile/poison oak markers for runners to see.  It always makes me smile when I come back and see The Hill in great shape.

My Personal Observations and Reflections—

There are so many fond memories of High Point, it is hard to narrow them down.  I will always remember my carpool team, driving daily from Lambert Drive up to the hills of High Point with the Clarys, Tituses, Haderleins, and many other incredible families. In fact, William Clary and I used to get to sit in the back of Mrs. Clary’s car most mornings when we drove to school.  I thought it was so cool that we got to sit in the car facing backwards (it was a Volvo with the back row seats that see out the back window – very cool for an 8-year-old!).

I loved all of my teachers at High Point.  Mrs. Richman, Mrs. Hicks, Mrs. Clougherty, Mr. Millard, Mr. Valiulis, and Mrs. Zeiss all jump to mind.  I will always remember Mr. Millard’s fun attitude and compelling teaching style, pushing us forward to take Algebra in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th grade, ahead of many classmates entering Loyola.  My family and I miss him dearly, and will always remember him with love.  Mr. Valiulis was one of the best teachers I’ve had in my life, bringing history to life with his convivial nature.  I remember having to memorize all the Presidents of the United States for 8th grade history, which has made me look much smarter than I actually am in many occasions since!  Mrs. Zeiss’s junior high English classes made all of our vocabularies deep and eloquent, and taught us concepts that I used throughout AP English in high school.

Altogether, it was a blast.  Thank you, High Point, for an incredible nine years with the best teachers, faculty, and students.  I am proud to be a part of the HPA family and look forward to keeping in touch for the rest of my life—I can’t wait to get back up on the Hill soon! Go Eagles!

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