Dr. Pete A. Yaksick is a Johns Hopkins and Columbia trained developmental psychologist with a specialty in adult neurocognition. Currently he is an assistant professor of criminal justice and psychology at the Mercyhurst University North East campus. His research interests involve the brain's limbic system and neurological and cognitive impairment, particularly cortisol related stress and it's effect on hippocampal and amygdalar neuroplacity, and in turn on impeded learning. Recently he accepted an offer to remain on a Columbia University research team investigating the effect of dyadic interaction on reasoning, metacognition, attitudinal polarization and confirmation bias. He is also engaged in continual refinement of an adult lifespan learning improvement plan titled A Developmental, Neurocognitive and Socio-Emotional Approach to Learning Awareness: Ownership of Trajectories.
For more than a dozen years, Dr. Yaksick also worked as a television journalist (reporter and anchor) at several NBC and CBS network affiliates throughout the Northeastern United States. His primary assignments surrounded crime, urban, government and investigative stories. Major market jobs included WPXI-TV (NBC Pittsburgh) and WVIT-TV (NBC Hartford). He also worked nearby at WBRE-TV (NBC Scranton), WTAJ-TV (CBS Johnstown) and WSEE-TV (CBS Erie).
Dr. Yaksick holds a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and a M.S. in Neuroeducation and Adult Learning from Johns Hopkins University. His Doctorate (D.Ed.) was earned in Urban Educational Planning from Morgan State University. He also holds a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Edinboro University. Internships and practica were completed at Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Colgate University and The United States Senate (Senator John Heinz of PA).
Courses he regularly teaches include, Human Growth & Development, Criminology and Contemporary Social Problems. He served as MNE Faculty Senate President for six years. Each year, Dr. Yaksick attends and often presents at various state and national criminology and neuroeducation conferences.
Pete is a native of the steel mill town of Clairton, PA, located in the Monagahela river valley of Pittsburgh. He enjoys reading about U.S. industrial history and Pennsylvania tri-state blue collar and ethnic heritage. At Edinboro, Pete was a four year member of the Fighting Scots NCAA Division II football teams, and was the nose guard on the 1985 team that competed internationally in Helsinki, Finland. Finally, he is a lifelong and passionate fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates and Penguins; as well as Penn State, Notre Dame, Colgate and Mercyhurst football, March Madness basketball, and all Mercyhurst North East teams. Go Saints!