Alumni United Member Spotlight: Jim Peterson

Published on March 4, 2021 in

When did you first start supporting United Way?  

I first started supporting United Way back when I was a high school teacher in Detroit Public Schools. I was also a yearly campaign member at our school, soliciting donations from fellow teachers.

What was your first job?

My first job was delivering Shopping News newspapers once a month, when I was about 12 years old. Then I graduated to delivering the Royal Oak Daily Tribune newspaper when I was about 15; I delivered to 82 customers on Whitcomb Street in Royal Oak.

What was your most memorable volunteer experience?   

My most memorable volunteer experiences have been as a pledge volunteer at Detroit Public Television, which I did for about 15 years, and volunteering once a year as a judge for the Science and Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit, which I have done for 20 years and continue to do.

Do you have a favorite hobby?

My favorite hobbies are riding bikes, programming computers and reading interesting science-related books while visiting various natural settings (parks, islands, etc.).

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by famous scientists and engineers, and enjoy reading books about or by them. My inspirations have been e.g. Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Steve Wozniak (“the Woz”).

What was your favorite toy growing up?

My favorite toys growing up were anything electronic or technical-related. My dad had a lot of Army/Navy surplus electronic equipment in the basement, and that was some of my favorite equipment to play around with and modify to perform various interesting functions. I also enjoyed the Radio Shack line of build-it-yourself solderable kits (they were known as “Science Fair Kits”).