Dr. Pete A. Yaksick is a Johns Hopkins and Ivy League (Columbia & Penn) trained Developmental Psychologist with an adult neurocognition focus in urban environments. Currently he is an assistant professor of Criminology and Psychology at the Tom Ridge College of Intelligence Studies & Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst University. He is studying mental health counseling at the University of Pennsylvania's Applied Psychology & Human Development Division. His research interests involve the brain's limbic system, particularly cortisol related chronic/toxic stress and its effect on hippocampal and amygdalar negative neuroplasticity, and in turn on impeded learning and development. Recently Dr. Yaksick co-published a cognitive science article as member of a 5-person Ivy League research team based at Columbia University. The article is titled "How does discourse among like-minded individuals affect their thinking about a complex issue?" It was published in the peer-reviewed scholarly British journal Thinking And Reasoning, volume 24 number 4, 2018. The primary research aim investigates the effect of dyadic-dialogic interaction on reasoning, meta-cognition, attitudinal polarization and confirmation bias. The death penalty was used as the divergent discussion point. Like-minded and opposite-minded subjects were utilized for the research design, which included pre and post-essays along with extensive coding mechanisms. He's also engaged in continual refinement of an adult life span learning improvement plan titled "A Developmental, Neurocognitive and Socio-Emotional Approach to Learning Awareness: Ownership of Trajectories", and remains active in the Johns Hopkins Neuroeducation Initiative. He’s also, a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Citizens Academy, and is involved in its FBI alumni division through the Department of Justice.
He also worked for nearly fifteen years as a television journalist [reporter and anchor] at NBC and CBS network affiliates throughout the Northeast. (WPXI-TV Pittsburgh, WVIT-TV Hartford/ New Haven, WBRE-TV Scranton, WTAJ-TV Johnstown and WSEE-TV Erie)
Dr. Yaksick holds a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Columbia and a M.S. in Neuroeducation and Adult Learning from Johns Hopkins. 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. He completed internships at Colgate's Psychology and Neuroscience Department as well as Columbia's Cognitive Science program, Johns Hopkins Office of the President and The United States Senate-Senator John Heinz of PA.
Courses he regularly teaches include, Human Growth & Development, Criminology, Legal Concepts, Police Community Relations, Organized Crime 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 Roman Catholic, Croatian-American and a native of the steel mill town of Clairton, PA, located in the Monongahela 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 nationally ranked 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 Colgate, Columbia, Penn and Mercyhurst football, March Madness basketball, and all Mercyhurst North East teams. Go Saints!