Risner fulfills lifelong dream

Rider counselor transitions to new career at MSU


Sheridan Allen

Dr. Wendy Risner working at her desk.

Dr. Wendy Risner finally began fulfilling her lifelong dream six years ago. 

That’s when the Rider counselor began her journey to getting a Ph.D. and her doctorate. Now her dream, working as a professor who teaches counseling at MSU, has come true. 

The path wasn’t easy. Risner applied two times before but didn’t meet the criteria. 

“The first time I wasn’t done with my dissertation yet,” she said. “And the second time they really wanted somebody more with private practice or somebody who worked in the community, instead of at a school, so this last time they needed somebody with school counseling experience. So it was a perfect fit.” 

Risner teaches three online classes: Internship for School Counselors, Counseling Children and Introduction to School Counseling. She has students in Austin, Dallas, Weatherford and all over Texas, causing the first week to be overwhelming.  

“I have gotten to Zoom with my students and gotten to know them so it’s been better,” she said. 

The first fews weeks had been crazy with her working at both Rider and MSU. Risner is only at Rider on Fridays and still has her email which she checks periodically.  

“I look in my inbox and I have 200 emails or more, so that’s stressful, and it’s hard to have boundaries,” she said. 

Risner spent about eight hours a day in her office at Rider, whereas at MSU she only spends about nine hours a week in her office. While Risner likes her flexible schedule, there are some things she misses about being at Rider. 

“The negative thing is that I don’t have much student interaction like at MSU nobody comes to see me at my office because the program’s all online,” She said. “Here at Rider I have interaction with students which I really enjoy.”

Risner is excited about this new change. She does hope to keep in touch with her friends and co-workers from Rider.

“The counselors are pretty good at socializing outside of work, like we’ll go see a movie together or things like that, so I’m hoping we can still do that kind of thing,” she said.

While Risner is excited about her new journey, she definitely will miss many things about Rider once she goes full-time at MSU in the fall. 

“I’ll definitely miss the students. I will miss all of my co-workers because we’re more like family because I used to see them every single day, now I only see them one day a week,” she said. “So I know I’ll miss the staff and the students tremendously.”