Two WU employees recognized for support of faculty member’s military service

Dr. James Hepburn and Dr. David Mariner of Waynesburg University’s graduate programs recently received Patriot Awards in recognition of their support of Assistant Professor of Counseling Dr. Michelle Steimer’s military service in the Army Reserve. Pictured, from left to right, are University President Douglas Lee, Dr. Hepburn and Professor Steimer. (Photo courtesy of Waynesburg University)

Dr. James Hepburn and Dr. David Mariner of Waynesburg University’s graduate programs recently received Patriot Awards in recognition of their support of assistant professor of counseling Dr. Michelle Steimer’s military service in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Steimer nominated both for the award, noting their flexibility, support and recognition of her military service, as well as their encouragement of her to seek military professional development opportunities.

“I truly have more than an employer in Waynesburg University, I also have a work family that understands the increased demands of serving as an officer in the United States Army Reserve,” Steimer said. “I am blessed to work there in service of others.”

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed, according to the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve’s website.

Hepburn serves as program director for the master of arts in counseling and the doctor of philosophy in counseling education programs and professor of psychology at Waynesburg University. Mariner is the university’s dean of graduate and professional studies.

In her nomination, Steimer also noted the university actively seeks ways to improve military and veteran services through discussion, community involvement and service learning.

Waynesburg University is a Yellow Ribbon Program, a special assistance program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with no limitations on the number of enrollments, grants or credits taken.

The university also offers a variety of benefits for veterans and their families, including the acceptance of joint service transcripts, the Military Family Education Program, priority registration for veteran and military students and a 10% tuition discount on graduate and professional studies courses for active-duty persons.

In 2020, Waynesburg University hosted its first fellow as part of the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The university’s offices of Admissions and Financial Aid also recently completed awareness training with SSG Jolene Trout, a human resources sergeant for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, to discuss easing the transition for military members and their families to the university.

Previously, Trout, along with Steimer, participated in the university’s virtual Veterans Day Panel, which was a panel discussion focused on improving Waynesburg’s understanding of the needs of veterans at the University and within the community.

Others involved in the panel discussion included Charles Stoddard, a veteran and Waynesburg University graduate student; and Pennsylvania Army Reserve Ambassador Ernest Erlandson Jr.

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