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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Profs and Pints brings higher education to community

Founder and CEO shares the inspiration behind his business

 Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on, a separate website created by Eagle staff at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. Articles from that website have been migrated to The Eagle’s main site and backdated with the dates they were originally published in order to allow readers to access them more easily.

You may think that people would want to go straight home after work on a Monday, but the local coffee shop and bar Lapop in Adams Morgan was packed for a Profs & Pints lecture on Feb. 24. Some people sit on their own, while others are with friends, sipping on a selection of craft beer and wine. The room is electric with the buzz and chatter of people excited to hear a lecture from Georgia State University adjunct professor Bradley Cooke. 

Cooke’s talk was titled “Sex on the Brain.” Cooke has spent his career studying the development of sex differences during organisms’ lifetimes. Most recently at Georgia State, he studied how stress affects males and females differently. His 90-minute lecture provided insight into his research, with some of his most notable experiments involving the effects of social isolation on rats and his creation of a brain on a chip.

“What better career to have than to study love, and the neural basis of love and affection?” Cooke said.

Peter Schmidt, the founder and CEO of Profs & Pints, strives to bring education to the community with his business.

Schmidt was inspired to start Profs & Pints in October 2017 after spending almost 30 years as an education reporter. After he was laid off from his job in August 2017, Schmidt quickly planned the idea for his business and pitched the idea to Bier Baron Tavern in Dupont. 

Through his work on the education beat for such a long time, Schmidt said he was able to see two trends. First, a lot of people can’t afford college. Second, people face pressure not to study what they’re passionate about, but what will pay the bills down the road.

With this in mind, Schmidt wanted to create a space where everyone could learn for a reasonable price, about $15 per event. Schmidt said that his business allows college and high school students to be exposed to fields they haven’t considered before. He also said Profs & Pints is helping to democratize knowledge and education.

“It’s offering access to higher learning to people who didn’t have it before,” Schmidt said. 

Profs & Pints currently hosts talks at Lapop, Bier Baron Tavern, Social Circle Bistro at the Cambria Hotel and Church Hall in Georgetown. Schmidt is also expanding his business into other mid-sized cities in the country through a partnership with Cambria Hotels. Schmidt has had successful programs in Chicago, Philadelphia and Nashville.

“There’s a real hunger for this,” Schmidt said of his business.

Schmidt also seeks to help professors, especially adjunct professors, who are often underpaid for their work. Schmidt said he usually pays professors between $300 to $900 a night based off of ticket sales for that night.

Cooke said that venues like Profs & Pints are important because they allow more of the general public to be exposed to science and academia.

“The amount that human beings know as a result of science and academia is so vast, and yet it’s cloistered and confined within the halls of academe,” Cooke said. “And so it’s venues like this that allow that really interesting knowledge to get out, which is really important.” 

Schmidt hopes that his talks are fun and engaging, but still leave people with something new to learn. 

“There were people out there who had a hunger for learning that they really weren’t getting in a college environment,” Schmidt said.

COVID-19 Update

Due to recent progressions with the virus COVID-19, Schmidt decided on March 12 to cancel all upcoming Profs & Pints lectures until further notice. 

“As a socially-minded company, I was not going to do a socially irresponsible thing,” Schmidt said in regards to his decision to suspend Profs & Pints’ in-person lectures.

Schmidt said that all customers who bought tickets will be refunded, even if he has to refund customers out of his own pocket. Schmidt feels confident that he has saved enough money to keep his business afloat. Schmidt is hoping to have online talks set up in the coming week so that people still have the opportunity to learn during this time.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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