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Alumni Spotlight: Jalicia-Michelle Ruffin '09

What do you get when you cross a college graduate, Air Force veteran, and entrepreneur/CEO? None other than Class of 2009 alumna Jalicia-Michelle Ruffin! We recently connected with Jalicia to learn more about her journey to and through college and how Saint Martin set her up for future success.

Following high school, Jalicia attended the University of Toledo for 2 years, before moving back to Cleveland due to family needs in 2011. During that time, she stayed committed to her studies while enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College, and worked part-time simultaneously. In 2014, she received her Associate of Arts from Cuyahoga Community College and decided to join the military. She entered the Air Force and graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas in 2016. As Security Forces/Military Police, Jalicia served a tour in Afghanistan from 2017-2018. While in the military, she attended the Community College of the Air Force and received another associate’s degree in criminal justice in 2019. She retired from the military in 2020 while living in New Mexico, and has since returned to Cleveland. She also will officially earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology this December from Eastern New Mexico University. No matter what, Jalicia has remained committed to the pursuit of education, and commitment to personal growth.

Filled with an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create multiple income streams, Jalicia began strategically thinking about her future thanks to the college preparatory curriculum at Saint Martin. She recalls taking a banking class that taught her how to save money and plan for her financial future. While in the military, Jalicia invested in several real estate properties and began planning her small business. In 2021, she opened Ruff In Rides LLC, a small trucking company, which she plans to grow over the next few years. Coupled with her determination, and the skills provided by Saint Martin, Jalicia has established her very own business and has endless opportunities ahead.

As she reflects upon her Saint Martin experience, Jalicia is thankful for the gift of opportunity. She shares, “There were many of my peers who lived in the same neighborhood as me that were not given such a wonderful gift. I know that Saint Martin was one of the best things that happened to me and set me up for a pathway to success.” Jalicia is grateful for the family environment shared both in school and at her Corporate Work Study jobs that gave her a place to call home during her formative years. A true woman for others, Jalicia has served her country, and now serves her community through her business endeavors. She looks forward to what opportunities lie ahead of her as she grows her business and continues creating her path to success.


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