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Sakiel Ruff

Meet Sakiel Ruff '25

My name is Sakiel Ruff from Baldwin, New York, and I am a junior in the Industrial and Labor Relations School. On campus, I work as a peer advisor for the ILR School’s Office of Career Services and serve as the Co-President of Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate, Cornell’s only Black men’s professional development organization. This summer, I was a legislative intern for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer while also being a Washington Program Scholar at The Institute for Responsible Citizenship, an experience that helped shape my professional goals. I want to utilize my passion for government to impact the communities around me through improved educational, urban, and financial policies.

I chose the ILR School because it teaches me to use economic and sociological theories in the workplace and other spaces. Not only do we learn how to apply the theories, but we learn them from the unique perspectives of workers and business owners so we can make informed decisions.

During my time at the ILR School, I have worked for Peaceprints of Western New York, a nonprofit that offers reentry services to formerly incarcerated persons. I am grateful to have been exposed to the hands-on work of securing housing for our clients; through this, I was able to make a fundamental change in people’s lives. Earlier in my academic career, I took advantage of the ILR School’s High Road Fellowship where I explored Buffalo, New York, and impacted social issues I care about. Both these experiences developed my passion for making a change and fueled the desire to make change on a federal level, leading to my recent internship with Senator Chuck Schumer.

One of my main professional goals is to come to a deeper understanding of how workers, private entities, and governments interact with one another. The ILR School helps me understand these intersections through classes like “Labor and Employment Economics”, “Social Capital and Organizations”, and “Labor Relations”. Previous coursework and experiences from the ILR School have also equipped me with the necessary skills to effectively execute my leadership roles on campus. I plan to utilize this knowledge to help our government and elected officials make equitable policy changes around the country. Finding new and innovative ways to bridge the gap between public and private interests is crucial to ensuring all voices are heard and considered. I look forward to learning what the future has in store!