By: Katherine Prull '19
This February, MSW alumna and LCSW, Heather Ilconich '99 will be given an honor from her place of employment for the Educational Services Professional of the Year 2018. As a school social worker at Helen Fort Middle School, Ilconich has been working with children, families, and school staff since July 2002. She was voted by her peers because "they see a benefit and value to the role of a social worker in our school. They see the work with at-risk students, they see the hours of support, the home visits, the challenges and the healthy outcomes that many of my students develop with the support from a mental health clinician in a school setting."
Ilconich will be honored at a Board of Education meeting later this month. Her background illustrates her tremendous dedication to the field of social work. While attending Rowan University, Ilconich began to learn about the world of sociology and psychology where her "quest for knowledge turned toward social work." After earning her BA in Sociology, Ilconich started on her MSW degree where she "found her niche," as she explained. She graduated from Rutgers Camden with her MSW in May of 1999 and it has touched her life and many others since that day. Her commitment to social work continued as she earned her LSW in 2000 and her LCSW in 2004.
Since 2006, Ilconich has also been working as a part-time lecturer on the Camden campus, teaching a wide range of courses to some of the same students she taught in middle school. She serves as a field liaison and field supervisor for social work students. Her favorite part of being a lecturer is "meeting social work students and helping them grow within their social work education, as well as mentoring some students after they graduate from Rutgers."
In addition, Ilconich is one of the Lead Response Member for the Burlington County Traumatic Loss Coalition and a Board Member for the Family Support Organization of Burlington County.
With years of service to the field, it's not surprising that she would be recognized by this honor. She is deeply grateful to have found her calling. "I watched many children thrive with appropriate supports, and seen families become much healthier versions of themselves, " she says. "I have helped children find their inner strengths, allowing them to focus on school and their futures, instead of worrying about their lives. I entered the world of social work to make a difference in people's lives. Since then, each day provides me with a new opportunity to make a difference and that is why I love what I do!"