Youngstown State University has more to offer than a great STEM college. New to the faculty this year is Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica, assistant professor of Mathematics and Statistics.
Prieto, having grown up in Guadalajara, Mexico, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas in Applied Mathematics and her doctorate at the University of Texas at Arlington in Mathematics. Dr. Prieto did much of her undergrad work in Mexico.
Even though she holds Mexico dear, one reason she was drawn to Youngstown State University was the weather.
“I wanted to live in a place that has seasons,” Dr. Prieto said, commenting on growing up with lows in the sixties almost all year round.
Dr. Prieto was also drawn to the faculty in the YSU Mathematics department. One person in particular that stood out to her was Dr. Nathan Ritchey. He told her at some point he realized that other colleges didn’t need him, YSU did. Prieto came to the same conclusion.
She likes running and plans to run a half marathon in the spring, but what she enjoys most is the research and the teaching. Dr. Prieto does research in Mathematical Biology, the study of how cells move and why they move. She applies it to medical implants in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of infections associated with them.
Dr. Prieto likes teaching because she finds that students can surprise her academically. She especially appreciates how the most unlikely students can sometimes gain the most understanding in subjects like calculus. Dr. Prieto likes helping people understand the sometimes complicated aspects of mathematics.
“I like it when [students] try, even when they don’t understand,” she explained.
Dr. Prieto is involved with many parts of the campus. She helps with the STEM Leadership Society, Pi Mu Epsilon, and MathFest. She enjoys working with high school students just as much as college students. Prieto was amazed at how well organized MathFest was by Dr. Angela Spalsbury.
As a high school student, Dr. Prieto was involved in the Mathematical Olympiad, an activity similar to MathFest. She won first place in Mexico in two of the five years she competed.
Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica most recently published “Discrete and Continuous Approaches to Modeling in Cell Movement in the Presence of a Foreign Stimulus,” in Computer & Mathematics with Applications in August of 2012.