Dr. Stephen A. Yachanin

Dr. Stephen A. Yachanin, Professor of Psychology

Inspiration for a future career can strike at any time. For Professor of Psychology Dr. Stephen Yachanin, psychology sparked his interest in junior high while watching "The Bob Newhart Show," a popular sitcom. Bob Newhart played a clinical psychologist who treated odd but comical clients. The storylines were intriguing enough to prompt Stephen to take out an introductory psychology textbook from the library.

"It soon became clear to me that there was so much more to psychology than just treating clients with mental disorders," he said. "The more I read, the more fascinated I became with the workings of the mind and behavior."

A native of Cleveland's west side, Stephen graduated from West Technical High School in 1974 before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1978. He then earned a Master of Arts degree (1980) and a Ph.D. (1982) from Bowling Green State University.

It was during his senior year of undergrad that Stephen honed his career plans even further. "One of my professors offered me the opportunity to give a guest lecture to his Introductory Psychology course," he said. "The class was only 50 minutes long, but by the end I knew that I wanted to teach in college."

By the time he was working on the final draft of his dissertation, Stephen heard that Lake Erie College had an opening in the psychology department. He went through an extensive interview process and was happy to receive an offer. "Lake Erie had everything I wanted," he said. "It's a small, four-year, liberal arts college with an emphasis on teaching. Plus it's close to Cleveland and my family!"

Even since lecturing in undergrad, Stephen has found the classroom environment fun and exciting. "I couldn't imagine any other career than that of a college professor," he said. At Lake Erie, he teaches a long list of courses including everything from General Psychology to Human Sexuality. When he isn't teaching, Stephen also enjoys interacting with the students, staff, administrators and faculty.

One of the most gratifying parts of his job is teaching the real-world applications that students take away from class. For example, after taking his Research Methods course, students are able to adopt a degree of skepticism required to combat the information overload we all face on a daily basis. "My courses equip students with the skills necessary to explore the world in greater detail," he said.

The best part of Stephen's job, though, comes when his students approach graduation. "I love it when students tell me 'I've been accepted to this psychology graduate program!' or 'I was offered a psychology-related job!'" he said. "The students' success stories are my favorite stories."