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Michael F. Steger, with Bill Peisner and Brian J. Dyk

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Colorado State University

2009 Youth Purpose Research Award Winner

Michael F. Steger is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology programs at Colorado State University. His research focuses on the foundations and benefits of living a meaningful life. In addition, he has published research on factors related to achieving well-being, how people adjust to traumatic life events, and social influences on depression. His research also investigates what makes work meaningful, and how meaningful work enriches employees and organizations. He co-founded VOCÉ Consulting with Bryan J. Dik to provide tailored services to individuals and organizations seeking to harness meaning in leadership and in work. Web

William Peisner is a school counselor at Wellington Middle School, located in Wellington Colorado, just north of Fort Collins, Colorado. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Rollins College and his M.Ed. from the University of Virginia. Much of his school counseling work at Wellington Middle School falls under the theoretical umbrella of social norms theory. He has a special interest in behavior change surrounding energy conservation within schools. In a former life, Bill has been a fly-fishing guide, kayak instructor and co-owner of a whitewater rafting company.

Award Project: 
The Development and Exploration of a Youth Purpose Program for Middle Schools
Award Project Description: 

This project seeks to foster the interest of middle school students finding purpose in their lives. Students will explore skills, interests, and values, interview family members about why they work, and participate in a social cooperation game designed to reinforce the value of cultivating concerns beyond the self. This proposal will give schools tools to foster purpose and help students further develop concerns beyond their selves and engagement in academics and prosocial behaviors.