70 years young: Robert Younger's lifelong learning pursuits

by Kristen Koehler

70 years young: Robert Younger's lifelong learning pursuits

At 70 years young, Robert Younger is far from typical when it comes to pursuing academic goals. With four advanced degrees already under his belt, including a BA in Psychology, MS in Psychology, MSCP in Clinical Psychopharmacology, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology, Younger decided to embark on yet another academic chapter. Younger enrolled in the MA in Communication program at George Mason University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Younger's career spans serving as an active-duty Naval officer in the 1980s to testifying before Congress on healthcare issues. Along the way, his worlds of psychology, pharmacology, and policy advocacy collided in meaningful ways. He helped countless veterans grapple with mental health struggles and brought his expertise to advocate for improved healthcare access.

Younger retired from the Navy in 2016 and started working at the Defense Health Agency. He wanted to translate his clinical knowledge into writing that could enlighten the public. Younger knew he wanted to study at an R1 distinguished University to continue his research. This aspiration led him to Mason as a non-degree student, then he enrolled fully as a Master's degree candidate.

He has authored a plethora of papers ranging from family therapy and anxiety disorders to suicide prevention in the military and prescribing psychology in the Federal Government. Currently, Younger is focusing his research on age-related differences in COVID-19 communication. He loves having full access to the academic resources of a major research institution. Most of all, he relishes the joy of learning and looks at each new class as "flying a plane I've never flown before."

Drawing on decades of leadership experience, Younger eagerly shares his wisdom with classmates. He stresses the importance of combining capabilities, opportunities, and drive in order to be successful.

Looking ahead, Younger plans to graduate in May 2024, publish his latest work, and potentially return to teaching as an adjunct professor. Throughout it all, he remains guided by a core belief: applying one's skills to serve others is key to a satisfying life. Younger's inspiring academic and career journey demonstrates that it's never too late to pursue your dreams, gain new knowledge, and use your talents to create positive change.