De St. Aubin is a psychology professor at Marquette University, where he teaches several courses, including child and adolescent development, personality, adult development and aging, and psychology and culture. His teaching skill and enthusiasm have been recognized with eight awards. De St. Aubin also carves out time for research. These days he's studying emerging adulthood and sexuality. He's also written extensively on generativity — caring for and guiding the next generation.
‘A goofy topic'
De St. Aubin's love of psychology began when, as a double major in business and philosophy, he was required to take a personality course. "I remember thinking, ‘What a goofy topic,' but it really changed my life," he says. "It brought to me the beauty of science and helped explain what motivates people, why relationships stop and start. Before, I had thought you figured it out anecdotally, but through the course I saw there is a science to it all."
He replaced his business major with psychology and today, he's "rife with gratitude" in terms of his career, he says. "It gives me all kinds of joy and meaning."
Where he'll be in 10 years
De St. Aubin hopes to be "sitting in this chair, looking at this computer," doing everything he does now, only seeking answers to different questions. "The beautiful thing about an academic life is that the questions I'll be asking in 10 years won't be the same."
De St. Aubin is raising his 10-year-old daughter, Talbot. "I'm a single parent by choice. It's unconventional, but it works for us," he says. This summer's family project was a vegetable garden. "We grew peppers and lots of carrots very successfully from seeds — a great experience for us," he says.
How he differs from his co-workers
"I've had a checkered past," says de St. Aubin. "I look at my colleagues, they're all very committed and bright. Many were the ‘A' students, always the smartest in the class. That's not me." de St. Aubin graduated high school with a C average and had scrapes with the law as an undergraduate at Loyola University Chicago. But he believes those experiences have made him a stronger teacher and mentor. "While I'm not proud of my past, it has made me more empathetic and more willing to work harder," he says. "Now, when I have students who are more like I was, I can identify with them and I think I'm effective in working with them."