Psychology Alumna Teaching at Point Park While Pursuing Doctoral Degree Student Profile
Meet Ashley Bobak '22
- Job Title & Employer
- Part-time professor and University Counseling Center therapist, Point Park University
- Clinical Psychology-Psy.D.
- April 2022
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- High School
- Bethel Park Senior High School
- Now Living In
- Bethel Park, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Hiking, hanging out with my husband and two cats, concerts, listening to and playing music and watching stand-up comedy
"What we do at Point Park is really special. There aren't many other schools out there like us, at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. Our approach to psychology, which focuses on the actual person, sets us apart from mainstream psychology programs that are more interested in biology or genetics. Also, we have awesome faculty who are truly invested in your future and success, not just professionally but also as a person."
I loved it. I was really inspired by the humanistic-existential approach that the psychology department took to teaching and practicing psychology. I felt like I found "my place" and was really welcomed with open arms by the faculty. I remember being excited to go to class, and my excitement about psychology was really fostered and even amplified by the faculty. Our approach is really radical and promotes an understanding of the person in their social, historical and political contexts, an understanding that is grounded in the dignity and personhood of the other – something that makes Point Park really special, which I felt grateful to be a part of.
Who are your favorite professors?
Dr. Bob McInerney and Dr. Brent Robbins had a huge influence on me as an undergrad. I worked closely with Dr. Bob due to my involvement with Confluence Psychology Alliance and took a bunch of his classes, like social psychology and interpersonal psychology. I also had a number of classes with Dr. Robbins. They were both so excited about teaching, and it really showed. It made me excited to learn. They also showed a real investment and care, taking the time to really get to know students and serving as supports and mentors. Even after I graduated from the undergraduate program, I kept in contact with Dr. Bob and Dr. Robbins. My relationships with Dr. Bob and Dr. Robbins and their approach to teaching, as well as other professors like Stephanie Vargo, Dr. William Purcell, and Dr. Robert Fessler made me want to become a psychologist and work to effect change in the field of psychology. They also drew me back to Point Park for my doctoral degree.
What do you enjoy about teaching at Point Park?
I love getting to know students and to make them excited to learn psychology, much like I was as an undergrad and still am now as a doctoral candidate. It is mind-blowing that I have the privilege to teach the very classes that I took as an undergraduate student. I love hearing my students' ideas, thoughts and reactions to the material we're learning. It's just so exciting to me to work with individuals who are early on in their careers and to be a small part of their journeys. It also makes me excited for the future of the field, as we desperately need kind, compassionate, empathic people, which I think Point Park's program really fosters.
What do you do at the University Counseling Center?
I work as a therapist, facilitating individual therapy and also doing outreach work, like running workshops and other events. My experiences there have taught me that I am in a really privileged position. I get to build relationships with other people as part of my job, and those I work with trust me enough to let me into spaces that they might not have let anyone else into, or even recognized within themselves.
What career advice do you have for current psychology students?
Hang in there. This is a tough field and career to go into. Yes, it's very rewarding and I love what I do, but it has also been a long journey. I would definitely encourage you to seek a higher degree if you're interested in doing therapy, as you need at least a master's degree to be able to do that. If you have a passion for this work, that will drive you through the long nights, time in school, etc. Build relationships with faculty as well as one another. The psychology field is a small world, and it always helps to know people.
What do you want prospective students to know about the Psychology Department at Point Park?
What we do at Point Park is really special. There aren't many other schools out there like us, at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. Our approach to psychology, which focuses on the actual person, sets us apart from mainstream psychology programs that are more interested in biology or genetics. Also, we have awesome faculty who are truly invested in your future and success, not just professionally, but also as a person.