Jillian Ruhland, of South Wales, NY, was the first recipient of the fund's annual
scholarship. Ruhland graduated Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, Class of 2007 and then entered the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work Program. Ruhland received a bachelor of arts degree in criminology and crime and justice, with a minor in psychology. She is a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Deans List, Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Psi Chi National Psychology Honor Society, and Pi Gamma Mu International Social Sciences Honor Society. In addition to her academic background in psychology, Ruhland has worked with the County of Onondaga District Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Program, The Jenna Foundation for Non-Violence, and the Families of Murdered Victims Support Group.
2012 - Katherine Castejon
The scholarship is awarded annually to the applicant who best demonstrates the commitment to assist communities in a manner consistent with Melanie Merola O’Donnell’s values of compassion, generosity, respect, and honesty. Applicants are required to be enrolled in graduate-level studies in the mental health field.