Criminal justice senior dreams of helping juvenile offenders
By Billi London-Gray
Ready for a change of pace, Willow Kreucher transplanted herself from Iowa to Austin nine years ago. She wanted to be closer to her family and their support as she found her path in life. Now the criminal justice major is ready for another big move: entering her career as a juvenile probation officer.
“I want to help those who can’t help themselves: children,” Kreucher says. “We were all children at one time, and we all have made mistakes; it shouldn’t mean that a kid gets written off as a problem case. I want to steer kids in the right direction so they become successful.”
Kreucher wants to work with juvenile offenders because she sees it as a way to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
“I grew up with some kids that basically had no chance to get it right,” she say. “They didn’t have anyone to guide them in the right direction.”
Kreucher’s own path wound serendipitously to Texas State. When she moved to the Austin area nine years ago, she had not determined her college or career plans. But with encouragement from friends and family and tuition support from her employer, Home Depot, she completed her associate’s degree at Austin Community College and enrolled at Texas State.
“I feel like this is the perfect school for me. Not only is it a beautiful campus, but all of my professors are wonderful sources of information and guidance,” she says. And for finding inspiration, she adds, “it doesn’t hurt that our former president, Lyndon B. Johnson, graduated from this university.”
As Kreucher has been preparing to make a difference in the lives of others, she’s also been on the receiving end of life-changing impacts.
“Dr. Scott Bowman was my professor for Juvenile Justice. I liked his class discussions every day. He didn’t just lecture,” she explains. “He says things to make you think outside the box and try to understand situations from both sides.”
Kreucher is on schedule to graduate in May, and she looks forward to her next new start with well-founded optimism.
“There are so many different avenues I can take in this field,” she says. “You are in control of your own destiny. It all comes down to how hard you are willing to work to reach your goals.”