Justin Itzkowitz ’13
“Eagle Hill School has an incredible community that helps everyone feel welcome and safe, and the teachers and staff really care about their students. Everyone there is always willing to make time to help improve the experience for the students. The school also provides a great place for students to develop and explore their interests and improve as individuals. I am so grateful for the person I have become based on how I thrived at Eagle Hill.”
As is common at times for young students, Justin Itzkowitz ’13 did not feel school fit him well, and no matter the environment, obstacles always seemed to be in the way of his learning.
“When I was in high school, I struggled with organizational issues. While my academics always felt manageable, these issues made homework and school expectations extremely frustrating for me, and I became apathetic towards school. This led me to strongly dislike school in general. I sought an environment where I could be challenged academically while working on my executive function issues. I hoped that with the right environment, I could begin to enjoy school and care about education,” said Itzkowitz.
Justin found the right environment in Eagle Hill School, where every faculty member focused on his social and academic needs. With much of his time better organized and set up for his success, what was once a struggle became a tremendous opportunity for him.
“I met some of my best friends there and am traveling to a fellow Pioneer’s wedding in a few months. The school does a lot to help you to enjoy your time on campus. I took advantage of some great opportunities: I loved the weekly ski trips (especially the mid-week night skiing), and I joined the golf team and the soccer team (even though I never played soccer competitively until that point). From an academic standpoint, the teachers do an excellent job focusing on the individual. They are good at identifying individual needs, so even in larger classes (which are still relatively small, 6-10 students), they cater to everyone’s specific needs.”
With this new foundation and sense of motivation to grow as a young professional, Justin quickly started on a path to success after graduating from Eagle Hill. He graduated on the Dean’s List from Union College (NY) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and as a member of the Pi Tau Sigma Engineering Honors Society, Itzkowitz then headed out west to Colorado to be a Systems Designer for an engineering firm, quickly ascending into a Lead Engineer and a managerial role. Most recently, Justin has decided to take his career and education to the next level, having been accepted to Columbia University to earn his MBA as a member of the class of 2023.
“Long term, I aim to enter a leadership position in hardware innovation at a large technology company. I want to use my MBA to gain managerial experience in product development, focusing on the hardware side of new technologies. By focusing on the ‘big picture’ of product development, I’ll gain experience in all facets of business, not simply the engineering side of new technologies. This experience will enable me to succeed in driving significant innovation in the hardware space, as I will understand not only the engineering principles behind new product developments but also the key factors that lead to developing successful products in the market,” said Itzkowitz.
As a rising star and an already-successful Eagle Hill School alum, Justin still attributes the faculty at Eagle Hill as the main reason he began to care about his education and his future.
“I think the biggest impact the faculty at EHS had on my life was they got me excited about education. I didn’t recognize it while it was happening, but the self-confidence I obtained while at EHS changed how I felt about myself and my ability to succeed in college and beyond. While many of the staff helped in this regard, I attribute a lot of this to my interactions with Dr. Riendeau. Prior to EHS, I didn’t care about my education, and I especially hated English classes. Working with “Dr. R” helped me to enjoy learning and to be open to expanding my academic interests. Despite my passion for math and science, I was shocked when his law class ended up being my favorite class at EHS! This excitement about learning has continued to impact my life as it is what led me to pursue a graduate education at Columbia.”
When reflecting back on his time at Eagle Hill and the perspective he now holds, Justin thinks of the opportunity and the relationships he had with his teachers.
“I would say to current and future Eagle Hill students, the best thing you can do to make the most of your experience at EHS is to leverage the staff as much as possible. The teachers and staff are all there to support you; you don’t want to waste this opportunity. They are all willing to help, and will make themselves available for whatever your needs are.”
“One of the biggest ways EHS prepared me for college was by teaching me the importance and advantage of professors’ office hours. The staff members encourage you to self-advocate and seek out help when you need it. This was incredibly valuable for college, as it taught me never to be shy going to a professor during their office hours, which was monumental in my success at college. Additionally, this is something that stays with me even now, I often find myself annoying my bosses, asking them questions about every unique aspect of a project to ensure that I am as prepared as possible to deliver results for our clients successfully.”
Undoubtedly, Justin continues to be one of the hardest working and impressive young alums representing Eagle Hill School. We wish Justin all the success in the world as he takes on his Ivy League graduate education and his future business endeavors.