Proving a Point

At the immigration open forum held in Moser Hall last week, Youngstown State University faculty discussed why it’s important to keep the country open to immigrants.

One of the reasons was because many immigrants have brought innovative ideas to the United States in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering and technology.

This past week, the faculty’s point was proven at the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals’ 25 Under 35 Ceremony, which honors young professionals who are making a difference in the Mahoning Valley.

The MVP awards were given to Alicia Prieto Langarica, a Latina Youngstown State University math professor; Carl Peterson, a radiation oncologist at Mercy Health and attorney Matthew Ries, a partner with Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell Ltd.

Prieto Langarica is an immigrant from Mexico who found a home at YSU after coming to the United States to pursue an education.

Seeing an immigrant represented and honored in the STEM field, or any field, the way Prieto Langarica is is vital in today’s society.

Without accurate media representation and presence, the excellence of people of color and immigrants, especially women, often goes unnoticed. Putting their achievements in the spotlight lets the next generation see people who look like them doing what was once considered impossible.

Yes, everyone must overcome their own barriers to reach success, but often, minorities and immigrants have a tougher challenge than most. Primary TV networks often show division on their programming, articles are written about the American divide and at times, it feels like our country and our world are more separate that ever.

This is the primary reason why it’s important to stand up for each other and support one another, it helps to make larger strides in the community and beyond.

There’s a saying that goes “think nationally, act locally,” which can be interpreted to mean that whatever you think needs to change in the world can start down the street.

For example, Prieto Langarica, is working on encouraging students to pursue a math major because it’s something that most people, especially those that go to college without the support of a family, give up on.

Positive immigration stories, like that of Prieto Langarica, need to be highlighted and spread more than the negative ones do. More immigrants come to America to better themselves and the country as a whole than they do to hurt it.

So congratulations to Prieto Langarica and all of the other recipients of the 25 Under 35 Award. Thank you for making Youngstown, and the nation as a whole, a better place to be.

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Peterson and Ries also won the MVP awards, and it’s worth mentioning that they are making awesome advances in their fields.

Peterson is working to make the Mahoning Valley a place where the cancer treatment is on par

with cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and Ries has experience as an attorney helping people who were wrongfully terminated from their jobs.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners. Thank you for being an inspiration to the community.