March 06, 2009

School of Social Work honors alumna, students

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mary Kay Bachman, regional administrator of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Region 5 and an alumna of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Social Work, was honored by the school March 2 for her post-graduate achievements. The school presented a number of other awards as well as part of its celebration of National Social Work Day.

Bachman, whose work as a community organizer in neighborhood building, fund raising and resource development activities dates back to the ‘70s, earned her master’s from SIUC in 1995 and went on to serve as executive director of the Carbondale Women’s Center. In her current position, she oversees 190 programs in 70 agencies in 33 downstate counties. Also named district social worker of the year, Bachman served as district chairperson for the National Association of Social Workers from 1998 to 2000.

The late Lillian Adams was recognized as citizen of the year. Adams, who died in January at 96, volunteered on behalf of the Women’s Center (which she helped set up), the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sierra Club and the NAACP, among other groups. Active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Adams also opposed every war from Viet Nam on and campaigned for politicians from Adlai Stephenson to Barack Obama. Known as a tireless writer of letters to newspaper editors, she herself edited a number of organizational newsletters. She spent her life serving as an advocate for policies that would improve the environment and the general quality of life.

Nemoy A. Malcom, of Thurmont, Md., named undergraduate student of the year for his academic and service achievements, received a $100 cash prize from the regional chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. A senior with a 3.3 grade-point average, he serves on the curriculum committee, works to educate others about disabilities and is serving a field practicum at John A. Logan College.

Kaycee A. Shelts, from Camden, received a $100 cash prize from the regional social workers chapter as graduate student of the year, based on her academic and service accomplishments. A straight-A student, she serves on the University’s Judicial Board of Affairs and as a hospice volunteer.

Gale Greathouse, from Herrin, won this year’s $100 Auerbach Award, set up by the late Arnold “Jerry” Auerbach, a former director and pioneer in the department, for students demonstrating academic excellence and outstanding service. A senior with a 3.4 GPA, Greathouse is president of the Social Work Student Alliance and serves as a volunteer for numerous other groups.

Pamela J. Yost, of Marion, won the $100 award going to a non-traditional student. A senior with a 3.9 GPA, she serves as president of a support group for families whose children have disabilities. She also works with the homeless, participates in Special Olympics and assists the Franklin-Williamson counties human services organizations.

Susie A. Toliver, of Carbondale, was named field instructor of the year. An adjunct instructor for several years, she is the Carbondale police department’s crime victims’ advocate. She received a plaque.

The Social Work Student Alliance, the school’s registered student organization, named junior Jennifer C. Allen, of Nokomis, its undergraduate student of the year and Jennifer R. Farlow, of Hood River, Ore., and Katie A. Lenza, of Evergreen Park, its top graduate students. They all received certificates.