For a college student, pursuing their career can be a terrifying, tantalizing and often difficult endeavor. It’s an important, if not scary, point in their lives where they decide what kind of jobs they’ll have when they graduate from college. For Purdue University Northwest students, this is where Kristy Steiner, Career Counselor at PNW, comes in. Steiner, a PNW grad herself, has a degree in Human Resource Management and a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, both from the institution for which she works. She uses these degrees in order help the students and alumni of PNW determine their career plans.
A representative of Purdue University Northwest’s Career Center, she works with the other staff in the Career Center to put on events for students at the university, such as networking events, career fairs and workshops geared toward teaching students about their professional potential, as well as working with employers to provide the students with on-campus recruitment, interviews or information sessions.
Another, possibly more important, thing she does is work directly with students who are struggling to find their niche in the job market.
“One of the special tasks I have as a career counselor is doing career-related counseling with students who are maybe struggling to identify a major career path,” said Steiner, “and I get to use the training from my Master’s degree for it.”
Steiner is a Purdue University Northwest Student Success Story, having been an employee at the university while she was still a student.
“I was a student worker in the office,” Steiner said, “which came about when I went to the director for a second opinion on my resume. It’s just developed from there.”
For Steiner, helping students reach their full potential is a rewarding and worthwhile experience.
“I would say that the best thing about my job is seeing students get that “aha” moment,” she said “Or, when they have that moment of realization of what it is they want to do, or that excitement when they want to share that they’ve been hired somewhere.”
Seeing the students that she helps become young professionals over the course of their college careers is another thing that Steiner enjoys.
“One of the things I’ve actually told a class in a presentation is that I really like watching students grow from their first semester all the way until their last semester,” she said.
Seeing that growth is helps affirm Steiner’s own career choices that she’s made.
“It gives me a sense of happiness,” she said, “But maybe even fulfillment as far as my career goes.”
Steiner’s good at her job because she enjoys being the catalyst between people and their futures.
“I like developing, maintaining and even enhancing relationships,” said Steiner. “I would say that I like the relationship part of things. I like developing the clientele, and it’s nice when students come back and say ‘Hey, can I talk to Kristy? I have a question for her,’ or ‘She looked at my resume once, and I really want her to look it over again.’ You know, the people are coming in.”
In Steiner’s free time, she enjoys gardening.
“I actually have a lot of tomatoes right now,” she said of her garden, “and I like growing different time of hot peppers.”
She also tries her hand at hand-making decorations in her home that she shares with her husband, Evan, and two dogs, Buddha and Daisy.
She also likes to travel, as she went on a lot of family camping trips as a child.
“Since I was born and raised in Indiana,” said Steiner, “I have a lot of this country that I haven’t seen.”
While she has many places on her list of places to explore in the world, Steiner still thinks of The Region as home.
“This is home for me,” Steiner said, “I’m close to family, and I’m close to my dearest friends. That’s really the biggest thing.”