By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Dr. Jennifer Ortiz, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, has been selected as one of the leading professionals under 40 years old in Southern Indiana by Southern Indiana Business Magazine, a publication of the News and Tribune.
The “Top 20 under 40” distinction recognizes professional accomplishments and volunteerism in Clark and Floyd counties. Honorees will be recognized in a special July/August issue of the magazine.
“Dr. Ortiz is providing a helping hand for a critical segment of the population–the formerly incarcerated, youth without a mentor–that may lack social and emotional support in their lives,” said Jason Thomas, editor of Southern Indiana Business Magazine. “Her selfless commitment has the power to transform lives and strengthen the fabric of the community.”
That commitment includes volunteer leadership roles with the New Albany Human Rights Commission, Mission Behind Bars and Beyond, and Freed From Within. She also serves as a Big Sister through Big Brother Big Sister of Kentuckiana.
“I came from an underprivileged background and worked hard to reach the point where I have privilege,” Ortiz said. “I think every human being who has privilege has the duty to use that privilege to help others.”
For Ortiz, that sense of personal obligation extends to the university, which has a duty to eradicate the ignorance that so often leads to bigotry and inequality.
“New Albany holds IU Southeast in high regard, and we must work to earn that respect,” Ortiz said. “That is only possible if we move beyond the classroom and reach out into the community.”