NSASW award recipients-2015

Alphonsine Saulnier

Alphonsine Saulnier, RSW

Recipient of the CASW Distinguished Service Award

Alphonsine Saulnier is a family woman (a proud grand-mère), community activist, social work volunteer, educator, and valued NSASW volunteer.Alphonsine Yvonne Saulnier, MSW RSW is a remarkable social worker. Her contributions to the community in which she lives and to the social work profession can inspire us all.As a young woman, she joined a religious order and studied nursing at Université de Moncton. She worked in public health in South West Nova, a rural area populated largely by Acadian communities. She subsequently went to Dalhousie University and received her MSW.A proud and active Acadienne and Francophone, Alphonsine was president of Réseau Santé de la Nouvelle-Écosse for a number of years. In this role she lobbied successfully for health, post-secondary education and other needed services to be accessible to the local French speaking residents. In the 1980s, she was a founding member of Collège de l’Acadie, a community college system that provided technical and professional programmes throughout Nova Scotia.

The Collège merged with Université Sainte-Anne, and Alphonsine became Chair of the Department of Health Professions of which the Social Work Programme is a part. After her retirement, she continued to mentor students and social worker candidates, offering them supervision and guidance as they entered our profession.Alphonsine has given a great deal to the NSASW. She has served on the Board of Examiners, volunteered to be the Board representative on NSASW’s Professional Development committee and participated on a number of Board sub-committees, such as Entry to Practice, Discipline, Ethics and Complaints.As a result of her position on the Board, Alphonsine encouraged the Association to develop an ethics workshop.

At first, the workshop targeted new graduates, but over time it became clear that all registrants would benefit from participation. She worked with other Board volunteers to develop the workshops. She made sure that the didactic content and case studies addressed the issue of public protection. Participants learn what it means to be ethical and competent in their practice. She was part of the team that piloted the workshop in rural and urban settings. Eventually, the workshops were offered in both French and English, given that an increasing number of NSASW’s registrants are Francophone.Alphonsine embodies social work. Her commitment to the profession and the Association certainly embodies the essence of the Distinguished Service Award.


Jill Ceccolini

Jill Ceccolini, RSW

Recipient of the David William Connors Memorial Award

Jill Ceccolini is a social worker, educator and therapist utilizing a collaborative, strengths-based approach in her clinical practice and in her work as a supervisor and trainer. She is a full time clinician, working with individuals, couples and families, at the Canadian Forces Health Service Centre Atlantic and in her private practice. Jill is a co-director of Halifax Brief Therapy Centre, a private training and supervision consultation service. Since 1996, Jill has been teaching various levels of counselling skills at Dalhousie University, through the School of Social Work degree programs and through the Continuing Education Program.

Jill was the 21st president of the NS Association of Social Workers serving from 2000 – 2002.


Barbara Ann Nickerson

Barbara Ann Nickerson, RSW

Recipient of the Freda Vickery Award - 2015

Barb Nickerson retired from her position as a clinical health care social worker on March 31, 2015. Throughout the years she has been a valued member of our Social Work team and of the interdisciplinary clinical teams with which she worked. She demonstrated caring and compassion toward patients and families on a daily basis and upheld social work values and ethical standards in the services she provided.Barb is a "people person" and she began her work life in the teaching profession in rural Newfoundland. Her growing concerns for the wellbeing of the children she taught led her to pursue a career in social work.

She worked as a social worker in Newfoundland, Alberta and Manitoba. She worked at home for several years raising her two daughters but remained active in the communities in which she lived. She worked with seniors as well as children and new immigrants (and worked as an ESL teacher for a time). In 2001 Barb joined the Social Work Department at the QE II Health Sciences Centre. Not long after, she began working on the Nephrology Service and devoted her time and considerable skills and energy to Nephrology patients/families, staff members and students until her recent retirement. She enjoyed sharing her knowledge and expertise with staff and students (from all disciplines) and used every opportunity to promote the profession of social work. Barb has always been a strong advocate for patients and their families and for social work. In doing this, she's demonstrated her leadership ability, her willingness to take initiative and her creativity in finding innovative solutions for seemingly impossible situations.

We believe that she deserves to be honored and recognized for her professional, community service and her excellence in social work practice.