Alumni Stories: Alex

Alex Palermo knows a lot about how to stay cool under pressure.

As a student at University of Toronto, he’s already tested the waters as a future engineer/entrepreneur and is well on his way to becoming a finance force to be reckoned with. After graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Industrial Engineering, he took on a role as Investment Product Manager at Mackenzie Investments.

But the path to success wasn’t always clear. Alex says that Hudson, however, was the perfect place to explore many subjects before entering university.

“In Grade 9, I was sort of reserved and quiet, and I definitely didn’t know quite yet what I wanted to do. At Hudson, it’s such a close community; all of the students from Grade 9 through Grade 12 know each other in some way, so this really helped when it came time to start asking about university plans and subjects to study.”

Alex remembers that many of his friends had a similar passion for math and physics and talked a lot about engineering as a possible career path, so he jumped right in to learn more. And he recalls that if there wasn’t an exact course for something, Hudson was excellent at adapting courses based on interest.

“Hudson really helped shape my future course of study because they individualize courses and work on a three-semester system. We had more opportunities to focus on subjects in-depth instead of eight subjects at a time, like most high schools. I feel like Hudson truly helped me zero in on engineering as a path and definitely eased the transition into university.”

This smooth transition led Alex to expand his studies and focus on industrial engineering because it is closely tied to his interests: optimization, measuring performance, technical skills, and finance. It’s also led him to try his hand at entrepreneurship with a new business idea.

“I wanted to get my feet wet and see what I could do with engineering skills and my new excitement for business and finance, so I came up with a mobile marketplace concept that connects home cooks to customers. Essentially, it’s an Uber for home cooks: people could cook their own meals at home, package them, and have them delivered.”

While the idea is a good one, Alex is still learning more about how to make it work tangibly and get investors to take on the idea. He cites Hudson again for keeping a cool head and looking at all aspects and angles so he can try again in the future.

“My math teacher at Hudson gave us some really good advice that I use to this day when I take on any project or get ready for tests. He said, ‘Once you get to university, you’ll be in the pressure cooker—there will be way more stress than what you’re feeling now.’ I know he said this not to scare us, but to prepare us for all the challenges ahead, and I’ll definitely always remember his words.”


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After pivoting from an arts program to join Hudson in Grade 10, Athena (’14) grew a passion for STEM that led to a biology studies at UBC and new horizons with the Canadian Coast Guard.

Alumni Stories: Aleksandra

Aleksandra Aleksandrova (’15) explains how one fast food experiment led to a double Science major at University of Toronto, and reflects on the ways Hudson has shaped her postsecondary career.

Alumni Stories: Doris

Choosing a university program is just the start of finding your academic interests: Doris Braunstein (’18) explains how taking a long view has helped her get the most out of Life Sciences at UofT.

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