Hillaree Biddlecome

Hillaree Biddlecome

Therapist/Social Worker, Keys Counseling
Goshen, IN
Social Work, 2014

"Have a kind heart, fierce mind and brave spirit. Don't ignore your own potential."

Q&A with Hillaree:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

In 2014 I earned my Bachelor of Science in social work and a minor in health sciences from USD. In 2015 I completed an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program in Miami, Florida, at Barry University. Since graduating, I moved to Elkhart, Indiana, and married George Biddlecome. I currently work as a court appointed therapist in Elkhart County. Working as a therapist is both challenging and rewarding. Many of the children I work with struggle with early childhood trauma, behavioral/emotional challenges, extreme poverty, as well as several other mental health challenges. I continue to educate myself and gain knowledge and skills to best advocate for the children I represent. Being a social worker is very rewarding, and without the guidance of a few of my professors, I wouldn't be the social worker I am today.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

The University of South Dakota provided me with the knowledge and passion for social work. USD shaped my career path by teaching me that I was where I needed to be. My professors – who turned into mentors – helped me through the structured program, cultural competence, problem-solving, learning experiences, internships, leadership roles, and to some extent, my current job. I am grateful to my classmates and professors at USD for being an influence in my life and continuing to encourage me daily.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

My proudest moment is achieving a job in a field I love. I firmly feel that I am exactly where I need to be working in the community in which I live. My job keeps me busy, but I am always looking for ways to continue to grow and make sure that I am fulfilled as a social worker and a person.

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

Every student should be involved in something on their college campus. I was only involved in a few things around campus, but all were rewarding. I had the opportunity to take a few AWOL Trips, and my most fulfilling job was working at the Wellness Center and the DakotaDome Pool. I started working at the Wellness Center when I was a freshman, and by the time I graduated, I was working as a student manager. You see many faces at the wellness center, whether students, faculty or President Abbott and his dog coming to walk around the track.

I also spent time volunteering in the community. I packed lunches for Vermillion's Backpack Program, helped serve dinner weekly at the local church and spent countless nights selling hotdogs on Main Street for AWOL Trips. My time spent at USD was enriching. Find what you love to do and look for an organization that surrounds your interest. Your time at USD provides an opportunity to surround yourself with lifelong friends, and that is a gift.

© 2017 University of South Dakota | 1110 North Dakota Street, Vermillion, SD 57069 | 800-521-3575 | alumni@usdalumni.org