Jessie Petricka was born and raised in Northfield MN, and also attended Carleton College there. In Graduate school at Yale University he researched in the group of David DeMille on a project to create ultra-cold polar molecules. After receiving his Ph.D, he joined the group of John Thomas at Duke University to study the properties of ultra-cold quantum-degenerate fermionic atoms. In 2009 he joined the physics faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College and maintains an active research program and teaches courses across the physics and general education curriculum.

Jessie enjoys spending time with his wife Jalean and his children, Leif, Ambrose, and Alara. His hobbies include many outdoor-type activities, including hiking, sking, and sailing.