ncu-spring-2017-cover-renaissance

Renaissance Man

Written by Dena Roché

Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance man, Danny DeVito played one in the 1990s “Renaissance Man” movie, and today, NCU graduate Peter Tsahiridis is the embodiment of a 21st century Polymath.

Peter Tsahiridis Peter Tsahiridis

The son of a Greek immigrant father, Dimitri, and Greek/American mother, Christina, Peter was the first in his family to earn college credit at the University of Alabama at a young age through The Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. However, his academic path was not always smooth.

“I initially failed out of undergraduate school,” he said. “I went into the Marine Corps., and there I learned discipline. When I got out, I wanted to learn everything.”

And learn he did. Today, Tsahiridis has undergraduate and master’s degrees in history, as well as a law degree he earned in 2003 from Appalachian School of Law.

“My initial plan was to be a lawyer. I found I didn’t like the courtroom, but I did like research,” he said.

That love of research led him to complete a master’s in health psychology at NCU in 2012, and he’s currently working towards his terminal degree in organizational psychology from Grand Canyon University.

While his degrees may appear disparate on paper, Tsahiridis has found a way to weave them all together and create a career from several part-time jobs that leverage his strengths and interests.

“History is general knowledge, and psychology shows you the motivation of why historical figures did things,” he explained. “I use my history and psychology degrees in everything I do.”

“I went into the Marine Corp., and there I learned discipline. When I got out, I wanted to learn everything.”

Peter Tsahiridis, 2012 Master of Arts in Psychology

The Branson, Missouri resident uses both degrees in traditional ways as an adjunct faculty teaching history at Independence University, and at his alma mater, Missouri State University. He also teaches health psychology at Southern New Hampshire University.

The way his degrees marry together becomes obvious in his role as an author. Tsahiridis has a book on the Cold War targeted for publication in Fall 2017.

“Of course, there is a lot of history in the book, but it’s also all psychology,” he explained. “It looks at why we were afraid of Communism and why they feared capitalism.”

Tsahiridis also authored the textbook “United States History to 1877: Times of Change and Challenge” and co-authored “Becoming Freshman,” a self-help book for incoming college freshman.

Tsahiridis expanded into screenwriting this year when he formed a surprising partnership with Charles Thiel, one of the students in his Survey of the History of the United States class at Missouri State University. In February 2017, their screenplay, “Pansexual: The Inescapable Journey,” was published on Amazon. (Pansexual refers to a person who accepts a person as they see themselves. For example, if a man identifies as a woman, then pansexual individuals view the individual as a woman.)

The writing partnership was born when Thiel described the concept to Tsahiridis.

“I like having several part-time jobs,” he said. “You have to be able to adapt to a changing economy.”

Peter Tsahiridis

“Charles was wondering about his career. His parents wanted him to go into the medical field, but he would rather go into filmmaking,” Tsahiridis said. “I had a professor collaborate and assist me with projects in college, and I thought I would do the same for my students.”

That desire to mentor students also came from Tsahiridis’ experience with NCU’s one-to-one learning model during his time as a student.

“I had very helpful and professional professors at NCU,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, but I learned a lot.”

As a Renaissance man, Tsahiridis is drawn to learning and forward thinking, which is what led him to health psychology and NCU.

“NCU was one of the first to offer health psychology,” he explained. “The trend at the time was towards alternative medicine, and I wanted to get ahead of the curve. NCU was already there. By the time I graduated, all of these opportunities in health psychology were open to me.”

Not surprisingly, Tsahiridis is still exploring and is adding life coach to the other careers he juggles.

“I like having several part-time jobs,” he said. “You have to be able to adapt to a changing economy.”

By having such a diverse resume, Tsahiridis insulates himself from industry slowdowns and is especially adept at the constant reinvention that is a cornerstone of our knowledge-based, tech-driven economy.

While it can be stressful to focus and manage so many different jobs, the ability to multi-task and work hard was instilled in Tsahiridis at a young age.

“I learned my work ethic growing up and working in my parents’ Greek restaurant,” he said.

Aside from all of his jobs, Tsahiridis manages to balance a family life that includes his wife, Kristine, and three children, Dimitri, Madeleine, and Gwendolyn all under the age of ten.

Clearly, Tsahiridis doesn’t lack for passions, and he advises students to do what they love and to focus less on money.

“I’ve found that if you really love what you do, the money does find you,” he said. “I tell them don’t give up pursuing a dream of getting a degree. NCU opened so many doors for me.”