Chris Brandolino '96 knows you can't predict life like you can the weather. For instance, this January his meteorology career really went south - to Australia.
The former WSTM-TV weather personality is still getting his bearings near the western Australia city of Perth, where he now works for the country's equivalent to the U.S. National Weather Service. As of mid-March his young family was still waiting for their furniture to arrive from the States.
"It took us literally a week to work out sleeping through the night without waking up," Brandolino said.
The change in lifestyle is only half of the adventure. Brandolino no longer spends part of his work day in front of a camera.
His government job with the Australia Bureau of Meteorology's Special Services Unit keeps him out of the public eye for the most part.
"Basically, the job of the SSU is to forecast for paying clients," Brandolino said, naming Chevron, BP and other natural resource-dependent corporations as examples. "I do do meteorology, but I've had to learn a new science: oceanography."
He describes the science as a combination of water and weather.
"It is somewhat related to meteorology, I basically had to learn on the job, which means I'm still learning," Brandolino said.
The Florida-born, Schenectady-raised Oswego alumnus had a limited history of travel before meeting his wife, Sarah.
"The proverbial fork in the road was about five and a half years ago, when we honeymooned in Australia," Brandolino said. He and his wife spent a couple weeks on the continent's east coast, exploring Sydney, Queensland and Cairns. "It left a big impression on us.
"I thought maybe it'd be nice to come back sometime," he said.
This time, son Dominic and daughter Sydney are along for the extended stay that will last at least two years. Though acclimation to a new country, time zone and culture has been difficult at times, Brandolino said the decision to leave television and radio back home in Central New York has been a rewarding one so far.
"You've got to have the support of your family, you can't go it alone," he said. "I couldn't do it without them."
A major perk is the extended time he now gets to spend with his family. Another is living just a few minutes' walk from the coast of the Indian Ocean.
The Oswego experience has been a big part of Brandolino's career and life.
"I love Oswego for the education and good times that I had there," said Brandolino, who got his first taste of television working at college student station WTOP-TV. "I met my best friends in my life at Oswego."
He also drew inspiration from professors Dr. Robert Ballentine, Dr. Al Stamm and Carol Shuman. Gregory Auleta of the college Office of Learning Services was particularly influential, he said.
"I can't say enough about him; he was amazing and he was a big part of me graduating," Brandolino said.
While his trip down the road less traveled might seem extreme, Brandolino maintains a simple philosophy that he recommends future graduates adopt.
"Your degree at Oswego can take you anywhere," Brandolino said. "Follow your heart; it's as simple as that.
"Because regret is the most expensive thing in the world," he said. "You'd hate to be in a rocking chair when you're 85 and thinking, ‘I wish I would have done this.'"
- Shane M. Liebler
Upper photo: A kangaroo crossing sign on an Australian roadside.
Lower photo: Chris Brandolino '96; his son, Dominic; and daughter, Sydney, take in the slower pace of Australian life on this turtle statue.
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