Human Services Graduate Earns National Honor

Published 03.17.2006

Human Services & Restorative Justice

Sherry L. Heckman, a May 2005 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology, was one of three people nationwide honored as Outstanding Human Service Students during the National Organization for Human Services annual conference in New Jersey.

Heckman, of Muncy, graduated with honors from Penn College, earning a bachelor's degree in applied human services.

The Outstanding Human Service Student Award recognizes a student NOHS member who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the values and goals of the organization and of the human services profession.

"What stands out for me about Sherry is her sense of advocacy and her desire to be a wonderful advocate in this field," said Susan Slamka, assistant professor of human services/psychology at Penn College. "I think she has a passion for working with children and working for the parents of children with mental illness."

While a student, Heckman participated as a student representative on the Human Services Program Review Committee. Off campus, she was a volunteer adviser for parents of children with selective mutism and shared her family's experience with the disorder on a major PBS documentary on social phobia and anxiety disorders, narrated by Donny Osmond.

Fellow documentary participant Barbara Markway, a treating professional, dedicated her recent book, "Nurturing the Shy Child," to Heckman and her daughter.

Heckman also served on her local school district's school-safety committee during its strategic planning process, introducing a suicide-prevention program for the district, and she served on the board of directors for the Selective Mutism Group-Child Anxiety Network, a nonprofit national organization that provides education and support to families of children suffering with selective mutism.

She has presented several times at the organization's annual conference and participated in developing a PowerPoint presentation that serves as a tool for parents, schools and professionals to help educate the public about selective mutism.

In 2004, Heckman was inducted into Alpha Chi, a national honor society that limits its membership to the top 10 percent of junior and senior classes.

She is a caseworker for Snyder County Children and Youth Services.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Integrated Studies at Penn College, call (570) 327-4521, send e-mail or visit online.