Determined to succeed

Valerie Mittl was determined to earn her Ph.D. Although it took her more than seven years and included a move to St. Louis to be closer to her fiancé, she proved that she could collect data and complete a dissertation from afar. Her success in Wayne State’s clinical psychology program also transferred to other areas of her life. 

Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Mittl built a thriving clinical psychology practice, specializing in cognitive therapy. She is also a dedicated community volunteer, a mother of three and an avid traveler. 

“I had wonderful professors when I studied at Wayne State; they provided me with flexibility and support to make completing my Ph.D. program possible,” Mittl said.   

As part of her training at Wayne, Mittl was a teaching assistant for abnormal psychology, did neuropsychology testing at a local osteopathic hospital, and saw clients at Detroit Receiving Hospital.  

“Being in a big city and around many different mental health facilities in the Detroit area, it was ideal for getting hands-on experience while I was completing my studies,” she said. 

For the last 24 years, Mittl has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband of 32 years. It was there that she opened her own private practice. She leads a book club at a women’s prison, is a math tutor for sixth graders at a local school and is a docent at the Mint Museum of Art. Mittl is also a member of the Women’s Impact Fund, a collective-giving organization that awards community grants.

“Detroit is really a cool place with endless opportunities,” she said. “I truly believe it was my love of the Detroit Institute of Art that led me to my volunteer position as a docent at my local art museum today”.

Mittl’s advice to current Wayne State Students is: “Don’t lose faith in yourself, take your studies one step at a time and you will reach your goals.”

Written by CLAS communications associate Christiana Castillo

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Determined to succeed 5/16/2017
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