Lifelong learner

A love for indie music, counterculture, and international travel made Erin Peterschick (’00, ’05) stand out in her hometown of Spokane, Washington as a youth. She opted for community college classes instead of completing high school, then ventured to France as an independent foreign exchange student. From there, she went to England to volunteer with Community Volunteer Services (CVS). When Peterschick returned stateside, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at PSU before designing her own program direction for her Master of Global Leadership and Management.

“I’m a square peg who has never been okay with round holes,” Peterschick laughs. “Tailoring my own education is something I’ve always done, and the amazing professors at PSU were open to that.”

For her practicum experience, she helped mount trainings for two delegations from China in partnership with the non-profit International Sustainable Development Foundation (ISDF). In addition to her studies, Peterschick was a graduate assistant who conducted legislative advocacy at the PSU Alumni Office.

Student becomes teacher 

After college, Peterschick helped the Department of Health Services in Washington write a federal grant that launched large-scale change management there. She and her husband taught themselves Chinese and, in 2008, they picked up and moved to China.

“We bought one-way tickets and took only what was on our backs,” Peterschick recalls. “We didn’t have jobs lined up, but we’d done our homework. We got jobs teaching English in rural Hunan within 10 days of landing.”

They taught junior high and high school students for one year, returned to Washington, and then went back to China. This time, they went to Tianjin, where Peterschick created an entire curriculum from scratch to teach academic conference success skills to PhD students at Nankai University.

“It was like going back to grad school – I just taught myself how to do it,” Peterschick says. “I had those skills because PSU graduate students are expected be self-directed and entrepreneurial, which fit perfectly with what I brought to the table as a non-conformist and curious learner.”

Scrappy and resourceful

At Nankai, Peterschick discovered she loved teaching adults. When the couple relocated to Seattle, her range of experiences coalesced into a consulting career. Peterschick’s work included change management, designing adult learning experiences, event management, and intercultural relations. She facilitated the Boeing China Leadership Academy, which led to her current full-time position as the Learning Experience Designer for The Boeing Company.

“All my successes were a direct result of showing up, investing in my community, and putting myself out there,” she says. “I consider myself scrappy and resourceful, and a life-long student.” For fun, Peterschick studies languages, culture and cuisine, and she still frequently attends indie music shows.