Alumna named Social Worker of the Year
An Aurora University alumna has been recognized for outstanding contributions to her profession. Joan Lodge, MSW ’91, was recently named the 2014 National Association of Social Workers-Illinois Jane Addams District Social Worker of the Year.
Lodge began her career in mental health immediately after graduation, and is currently the director of emergency services for Rosecrance, a private not-for-profit organization headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, offering behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and families. She oversees numerous programs which all focus on helping individuals with mental illness who are either homeless, accessing services for the first time or in psychiatric crisis.
The award was presented to social workers in Illinois who exemplify in their professional and personal work the basic tenets of the social work profession—giving voice to those who are without voices. “I have always had a special interest in helping others,” said Lodge. “I believe my passion to help others and make a difference in someone’s life were the reasons I chose social work.”
With more than 20 years in the field, Lodge credits her education for paving her career path. “Most definitely my MSW degree helped prepare me for the field,” she said. “Particularly the ecological perspective theory which is really taking into account the ‘big picture’ of the client and their environment. This helps take a holistic approach when assessing and treating an individual.”
For those currently pursuing degrees in social work, Lodge has some good advice. “Study hard, find a mentor and don’t procrastinate taking your licensing exams,” she said. “The social work field has a variety of options, don’t quit until you find the population or path which motivates you.”
Lodge helps students discover their passion through her continued relationship with Aurora University and George Williams College of Aurora University as a field placement supervisor. “In this capacity I have supervised numerous social work interns within my organization,” she said. “Many of the students enjoy their experience so much that they often continue their career at Rosecrance. I also provide weekly clinical supervision for those staff who are preparing for licensure.”
For more information about the social work program at Aurora University, visit aurora.edu/socialwork.