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Waukegan woman is the new voice of Lake County

CynthiTrujillo-Vargas Waukegan is new communications manager for Lake County State's Attorney's Office Waukegan. | Ryan Pagelow-Sun-Times Media

Cynthia Trujillo-Vargas of Waukegan is the new communications manager for the Lake County State's Attorney's Office in Waukegan. | Ryan Pagelow-Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 7, 2013 2:31AM

Lake County now has a new voice.

Cynthia Trujillo-Vargas, 28, has been hired by Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim to be the office’s first communications manager.

“I love being the face of an office such as the state’s attorney’s. I think that was my target, helping out the community,” Trujillo-Vargas said.

The Waukeganite worked for Catholic Charities as a bilingual immigrations specialist and outreach coordinator before she came to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Her responsibilities include coordinating media requests, helping remodel the office’s Web site and build social media accounts for the office. She is also working on the office’s internal “Seeking Justice” newsletter and is exploring ways to interact with the community.

The oldest of three, Trujillo-Vargas was born in Waukegan to parents who emigrated here from the state of Michoacan, Mexico.

Trujillo-Vargas was raised in a traditional Mexican family. Her parents worked, so as the oldest, she had to care for her siblings.

“I had to mature quickly,” Trujillo-Vargas said.

She began her career path at age 14 with a work-study program for Prairie State Legal Services. A graduate of Waukegan High School (2002), Trujillo-Vargas went on to earn a criminal justice degree and Spanish minor from University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2006.

Shortly after, she worked with clients at Catholic Charities. Trujillo-Vargas has also been active as the fund-raising director of Latinos United Coalition of Lake County.

Trujilo-Vargas is Nerheim’s first hire. She is one of almost 150 staff members in the State’s Attorney’s Office.

“I think the job is progressing well. There’s always something to do,” Trujillo-Vargas said. “I think it’s great to have the lines of communication open.”

In addition to the communication piece, she attends high-profile cases. She said it’s good experience for her future plans to become a lawyer. She was married at age 19 (and is still married). Her son is 7, and when she was 25, she took legal guardianship of three children.

That delayed her plans to become a lawyer. Her current role is expanding her education and opening the door for her to fulfill that dream, she said.

“I am getting a feel for real life things. Criminal justice is my passion. When I was young, I found myself trying to watch ‘Cops’ (the TV show), and would watch anything to do with police/law. It always fed my interest,” Trujillo-Vargas said.

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