James Hedrick ’92, lecturer in electrical and computer engineering, is originally from New York and raised on Long Island. A lifelong amateur radio operator, he earned his FCC commercial radio license as a teenager and designed, installed, and repaired public safety radios and marine electronics.
His path to Union was circuitous and included stints at several colleges and working in various jobs, such as, at one point, managing a dairy farm. He entered Union as a transfer student when the College had an evening division, when he worked full time and was married with a family. After earning his engineering degree, he spent three years as a principal engineer with the New York State Thruway Authority, designing and helping to implement the new E-ZPass electronic toll system to replace the electromechanical system. aging.
Hedrick joined the Union faculty in 1995. His teaching interests range from microcontrollers and circuit theory to electronics and digital communications. He lives in Stuyvesant, Columbia County, with his wife, Edith, a pianist and organist, and their rescue cat, Piper, “a real talker.” They have four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
I don’t watch apps. In the morning, I try to say hello to my wife, scratch the cat and cook breakfast. I try not to be distracted by electronic equipment.
A BOOK YOU HAVE READ SEVERAL TIMES:
I like learning and I don’t like spending all my time reading technical and scientific stuff. I enjoyed the Hobbit series and books by Barack Obama and economist Robert Reich. But the ones I read the most are the Harry Potter books. They can be enjoyed on many levels, with and without my grandchildren. Amidst the entertaining story is a helpful philosophy in terms of right and wrong, how we strive to be as people, and how we’d like to treat each other.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
When I was a child, an adult told me: “You always have to hurry slowly. When you first think about it, it doesn’t make sense. But if you make a decision too quickly, you’re probably going to make a bad one. When others push us to make decisions, we always want to get things done quickly and move on, but it usually works really well to say, “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”
FAVORITE PLACE ON CAMPUS:
Jackson Garden. It’s calm and peaceful, and we all need calm and peace in our lives.
I usually have a combination of rolled oats and wheat germ with nuts and fruit. I think it’s my most important meal. You should never skip breakfast.
NETFLIX OR AMAZON:
Neither. I watch very little television except, periodically, shows on PBS.
The one I listened to the most is “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” I have a very long commute to work, an hour and a quarter more or less, depending on the weather or traffic.
A SKILL YOU WISH TO HAVE:
At some point I bought a cello and started learning to play. I would like to know more. What would the world be without music? I don’t even want to think about it.
ANOTHER SUBJECT YOU WANT TO TEACH:
It’s not difficult for me to answer because I really enjoy teaching. I would be perfectly happy to learn and teach something else – religion, philosophy, English, history. As you know, teaching is learning with other people. It’s basically unlimited.
THE MOST CREATIVE EXCUSE YOU’VE HEARD FOR A LATE ASSIGNMENT:
A student once told me that her dog ate her homework. I raised an eyebrow and said, “OK, when can you bring it to me?” I’m pretty flexible – I know things happen – and she made that clear to me. Then I was filing some papers, and our cat decided to shred them. So I had to go explain to the student with the dog what had happened to her paper, again. We had a good laugh together. It changed the way I react when a student comes up to me with an excuse of a dog eating my homework.