Monday, March 21, 2016

Leadership lived: UIS student enjoys making a difference

Jennifer Hickey has always enjoyed helping people. The University of Illinois Springfield senior is a mentor on campus, volunteers in the community and works with children at The Autism Clinic of The Hope Institute for Children and Families.

At a young age, Hickey was inspired by her grandmother, a school social worker, to help people in need. Now, she is following in her footsteps by earning a bachelor’s degree in social work.

“I want to focus on school social work and applied behavioral sciences, which is just another type of intervention for students that have autism, behavioral disorder or developmental disabilities,” she said.

On campus, Hickey is co-director of the Leadership for Life service organization and entertainment chair for Dance Marathon, an organization that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. She also has participated in the last three Alternative Spring Break volunteer trips.

Hickey was recently honored as the “mentor of the year” by the Capital Scholars Honors Program where she also works as a writing tutor. She finds it rewarding to watch the students she mentors grow in the classroom.

“That’s been the best part of tutoring for me,” she said.

Overall, Hickey is glad she chose UIS because of the abundance of opportunities she’s been offered on and off campus.

“I definitely would recommend UIS,” she said. “I don’t think I’d have these opportunities anywhere else.”

Following graduation, she plans to earn her master’s degree in social work and begin her career as a school social worker.

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