Story by Mike Zweifel

James Peters stands between the checkout lines. The camera angle is low, showing a big, round, red light fixture above his head.
James Peters interned at Mizzou before becoming an assistant manager for Campus Dining Services. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

“You don’t sound like you’re from New Jersey,” was a phrase James Peters, assistant manager for Campus Dining Services (CDS), heard often during his internship at Mizzou.

Peters, from Ewing, New Jersey, completed a foodservices management internship program in summer 2016 through the National Association of Colleges and Universities Food Services (NACUFS). At the time, he was in the nutrition program at Rutgers University and had worked in the food service industry, doing every job possible in the kitchen.

But being an intern at MU changed his perspective about the food-service industry.

“The internship really opened my eyes to the possibilities available to me,” Peters says. “I was excited to meet a lot of people, and my biggest takeaway from that internship was to learn about the many behind-the-scenes support staff and departments, like IT, marketing and fiscal, that really help in running a good operation,” Peters says. He also liked hearing the different accents of Missouri and the local word choice, such as “soda” vs. “pop.”

Peters liked MU during his internship program so much that he applied to work for CDS as his first “real” job after graduation.

James Peters looks out of a window while sitting at a dining table at Rollins Dining Hall.
Peters in Rollins dining facility. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

“I interviewed all day, and CDS did a good job of welcoming me. They showed me around town, and I even met with [former] Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Cathy Scroggs during my interview. I applied to other places, but those other places were not as professional as here,” Peters says.

As assistant manager for Rollins dining facility, Peters oversees Rollins @Night, which is open later than most on-campus dining facilities and offers dishes such as chicken wings and made-to-order pizzas.

“I’m in charge of the menu, pricing, forecasting sales, training students and full-time staff, and more,” Peters says.

Away from campus, Peters practices and trains in the martial arts, particularly judo. In addition, he enjoys being outside and walking in some of the Columbia area’s parks and trails. Recent outdoors visits included The Pinnacles in northern Boone County and Devil’s Ice Box in Rock Bridge State Park in southern Boone County.

Peters also partakes in the local restaurant scene. “My favorites at the moment are Flat Branch, Addison’s and Bangkok Gardens,” he says.