March 12, 2012

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 3, Issue 1

Professor Stephen Petersen

Prof. Stephen Petersen

Prof. Stephen Petersen

Professor Stephen Petersen's got quite the resume; don't let his humble persona fool you.
In fact, he seemed a bit taken aback when he found out he was considered intriguing.
I was afraid that it meant weird, but in a way any attention is good attention, he says.
Before becoming one of NU's full-time philosophy professors “ teaching everything from introduction to ethics and a variety of 300 level classes “ Petersen studied at the nation's most prestigious university and then around the world.
This Milwaukee native headed straight to Harvard out of high school where he studied both philosophy and math. It was intense. It wasn't super fun. There was a lot of really intense people, he said.
In order to release some tension, Petersen became very involved with acting, particularly improv, which he still pursues today. He even got as far as acting in a film that premiered in Hollywood at a red carpet event, making him two degrees from Kevin Bacon.
After graduating Harvard, Petersen considered himself a slacker for four years.
His idea of taking time off included working in London for a year as well as teaching English in Japan for another three.
He then went to Michigan where he completed his master's and his ph.D. After considering acting and physics, he decided to make philosophy his career, because it constantly stimulated his brain. As a result, in 2006 he found himself at NU doing something that he loves “ teaching students to tackle the puzzles of philosophy.
I like to watch minds getting blown, he says. I love when I see a student really get gripped by a problem.
Petersen's advice to students looking to lead an intriguing life consists of three simple words uttered by former Harvard President Neil Leon Rudenstine at his graduation ceremony “ Don't be dull.

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