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Dr. Michelle Steimer

Assistant Professor of Counseling

A military veteran with over 15 years of service in both active duty and in the United States Army Reserve, Dr. Steimer’s research and work with veterans and trauma survivors has enabled her to present at the state, national and international levels.

Dr. Steimer holds a bachelor’s degree in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a master’s degree in mental health counseling and a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision, both from Waynesburg University. Her doctoral research was focused on military suicide prevention.

Please describe your program and your vision for it. 

The Waynesburg University Counseling Program is focused on preparing counselors for work in a growing career field. We have had more than 450 graduates since the program’s inception 15 years ago. We are dedicated to ensuring that our students are ready to work with individuals and families in the areas of clinical mental health and addictions counseling. The program is growing quickly and so is our vision for the future.

The University has achieved accreditation for its Certificate in Addiction Counseling. This increases opportunities for educating professionals to address the unique issues present in the field of addiction. We are launching an online graduate counseling program in the fall of 2020, and we continue to grow our doctoral program. Additionally, we are increasing our service learning opportunities and community partnerships in Western Pennsylvania. As we move forward, we will continue to be a program focused on preparing counselors to serve diverse communities.

What are some of your former students up to now?

Our students are active professionals in the field that really embody the ideals of service and continued learning. We have students that have become leaders within their agencies, private practice owners, advocates and counselor educators at universities. 

If I were a student considering this area of study, what are some career paths I would be able to pursue? 

Students might be surprised at how versatile a master’s degree in counseling can be. Students can pursue careers in community mental health, government agencies and private industry. Counselors can be employed in community mental health agencies and pastoral environments, own private practices, serve as program managers for government mental health programs or work as business consultants focused on wellness in areas such as corporate wellness, sports performance and crisis prevention.

What do you think is a true differentiator for WU or your program?

Waynesburg University and our program provide a unique opportunity that other universities and counseling programs do not. Our University and program allow students to engage in service learning and advocacy, which I have found is a unique experience when compared against other graduate programs in counseling. Our faculty is centered on service to others. We all work to embody the Christian values of Waynesburg through our work with students and the counseling profession.

Has this program or associated faculty received any awards or recognition? 

Our faculty and students present at the local, national and international level. Dr. Bowser and I recently presented in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on the topic of rural poverty and mental health at an international social justice in counseling conference. Dr. Hepburn and Dr. Nocita have presented at conferences such as the Pennsylvania Counseling Association Conference and the North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Additionally, we have mentored students to apply to be leaders in the field of counselor education. Two of our students have received fellowships from the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation. Also, I serve as the inaugural president of the Pennsylvania Military and Government Counseling Association. We have also had the wonderful addition of Dr. Kelley McNichols to our faculty who is an innovative leader in the field of addictions counseling.

How do you prioritize personal wellness, any tips for students and working professionals? 

I'm a naturally active person (that's a nice way saying I'm really hyper). For me, this means that I have to stay self-aware and remind myself to not burn-out from doing too many things. Personal wellness plays a pretty important part of my life as a result. I make the wellness of myself and my family a daily priority. I enjoy coffee with friends and reading a good book to help re-center myself. I always tell my students and supervisees that we can't pour from an empty cup. Staying healthy allows us to be the best and healthiest that we can be. When we feel good, we're better counselors, partners, parents and friends to those that are important to us.

What is the most interesting place that you have visited and why? 

We love to travel as family, and I've been blessed to travel all over the world with the military in the last 15 years. The most interesting place was the Middle East. The history of this area of the world is fascinating, and it is truly beautiful. However, seeing the poverty and violence that occurs during war changed me as a person. A day does not go by that I do not have gratitude for being able to raise my children where we live, and I have a deep care for those who live in violent areas around the world. Oftentimes, we see the news, but we lose sight of the people that live and work in areas of conflict around the world.

Learn more

Waynesburg University's Master of Arts in Counseling program will prepare you for a rewarding and fulfilling career--a career that’s also projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in the next several years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. No matter which concentration you pursue, our blend of theory and clinical practice develops professionals who have the confidence and skills to work these positions as licensed counselors.