“I’m a bit nervous, but so far it’s been a lot of fun,” said Petersen, who started Aug. 1. Petersen said she has spent most of her time learning the ropes and preparing for her first major duty as senior tutor—convincing the administrative board at today’s hearing to allow students to return to the College after taking time off.
A native of Hamburg, Germany, Petersen received her master’s degree in Kansas before coming to Cambridge to pursue a doctorate. She is specializing in international relations and said she ultimately hopes to teach and research.
Besides her administrative duties and her student work, Petersen is also a full-time mom. Her son, Julian, is eight months old. “If he did leave me time I’d paint or do pottery or work out,” she said with a laugh.
House Masters Sandra A. Naddaff ’75 and Leigh G. Hafrey ’73 appointed Petersen as acting senior tutor last spring after Fonseca’s announcement that she would be taking a semester off. Fonseca said last May that she would spend her sabbatical traveling and writing a book, as well as developing a new class she plans to teach this spring.
“[Petersen’s] had a lot of administrative experience in the House, which we felt would stand her in good stead,” Naddaff said. “She’s a highly responsible, intelligent woman whom we think very highly of.”
Naddaff noted in particular Petersen’s experience last year in organizing and adminstering the House’s advising system.
Several students said they are looking forward to working with Petersen in her new position.
“I’ve found her to be very personable and I’m sure she’ll do a great job,” said Mather resident Eleanor I. Benko ’02.
While Petersen’s term will end by February, when Fonseca returns, she said she may consider becoming an administrator if this semester goes well. “I very much like working with students,” she said. “I’d definitely consider that.”
—Staff writer Juliet J. Chung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.