Psychology professor finds his way through experiences

Dr. Robert Bohlander, professor of psychology at Wilkes University.

Courtesy of Wilkes Marketing

Dr. Robert Bohlander, professor of psychology at Wilkes University.

Cabrini Rudnicki, Staff Writer

Dr. Robert Bohlander, a professor in the Psychology Department at Wilkes University, is described by his students as a kind, intelligent professor whose passion shines through his eyes during every lecture.

Bohlander started as an undergraduate chemistry major at Lebanon Valley College but quickly switched to psychology after just one semester.

“In my psychology 101 honors course, we got to research and conduct an experiment. I did my experiment on sleep learning, and after that I decided psychology was for me,” Bohlander said.

After becoming a professor, Bohlander continued to perform research on subjects like differentiation of self, which is the ability to separate emotions and thoughts. He also performed research on psychological well being, which eventually brought him to positive psychology, the subject of one of his favorite courses to teach.

In the past few years, Bohlander has paid most of his attention to the Neuro Training and Research Center, which he opened with fellow neuroscience professor Dr. Edward Schicatano in early 2016.

Bohlander also knew immediately that he wanted to be a college professor because he “loved his professors,” but he did not plan on also being a licensed clinical psychologist. In graduate school, he had a supplemental study in physiology of the brain. Ten years into his teaching career, another staff member gave him the opportunity to work and help counsel a person who suffered a brain trauma, and Bohlander quickly learned he loved it. He currently works full-time as a faculty member and part-time as a clinical psychologist.

“I love the balance. It allows me to bring examples of what I do in my practice to the classroom,” he said.

Outside of psychology, Bohlander enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing and fishing, but he also has a strong passion for travel. When asked about what countries he has been to, Bohlander rolled out a list of dozens of countries that would make any travel buff jealous. His list of travel experience is even more impressive when one takes into account that he only started traveling 12 years ago.

He also has a special love for the planning process and has already planned the next two summers.

“It’s a like a puzzle, a game, to put together logistics for each trip,” he said. This summer he is planning to go Romania and Hungary.

“It’s a lesson for us, and current students, that think ‘I need to have my whole future planned now!’ because you don’t know what will happen and what new interests you’ll discover,” said Bohlander. Bohlander started teaching in 1979, 38 years ago, and loves it just as much as he when he started.

“I still love working with young people and their enthusiasm. I plan on doing this as long as I can.”

Bohlander is a great proof of how life is not a straight path. From psychology to traveling, he discovered his passions randomly and unexpectedly.