After graduating from Iroquois High School in 2003, Jillian Ruhland, of Wales, first planned to become a profiler, someone trained to look into the minds of criminals.
However, after studying criminology, Jillian now wants to work as a victim's advocate. She believes she has more to offer by devoting her career to aiding crime victims.
"I felt it was important for me to help the victims of crime, on a case-by-case basis, when they need it the most," said Jillian, who now attends Le Moyne College in East Syracuse. A professor there, she said, "helped me realize that, in comparison to rights the criminal has, the victim has very few."
She wants to intern in the Syracuse district attorney's office before returning to Wales.
"I'm used to working myself extremely hard," Jillian said, "and the harder I push myself, the better I seem to do. I work incredibly well under pressure, so the only attitude congruent with my life is 'bring it on!' "
During high school, Jillian was involved in many volunteer activities benefiting her parish and community. She served as president of her Catholic Youth Organization for two years and helped organize services like raking leaves at homes of the elderly.
At Iroquois, Jillian belonged to drama and ski clubs. She was active in Concert Choir, Women's Choir and Swing Choir.
At Le Moyne, she has worked on the Orientation Committee for incoming freshman. She also is co-author of a research paper, "Standing Up for Social Justice: Catholic Voting Patterns and the Latino Effect in the 2004 Presidential Election."
Last year, Jillian, 21, helped present research to the 55th annual meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Rochester.
Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including date of birth and address, for possible publication in Class act. Sorry, photos cannot be returned. E-mail email@example.com, or write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.