40 Under 40: 2016

Meet our 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under 40 who are changing our region – and the world – for the better.



(page 8 of 11)


 

Elena LaQuatra   [24]
Digital Media Reporter, WTAE; Miss PA USA, Miss Universe Organization


It’s a new world of journalism out there, and Elena LaQuatra is confronting it with an effervescence that all but jumps out of the computer screen.

She’s a model — Miss Pennsylvania USA in fact  — and she doubles as a digital media creator-reporter for WTAE-TV’s online lifestyle and entertainment channel.

What makes this accomplishment remarkable is that she lost her hearing at age 4 due to bacterial meningitis. She spent four years learning how to speak and how to listen with the use of a cochlear implant.

“It was a ‘hiccup’ in my life,” she says. “But I genuinely believe I’m a much stronger, better, more empathetic and compassionate person because of it.”

Part of that compassion is demonstrated in her charity work, starting with DePaul School for Hearing and Speech in Shadyside, where she regained both the gifts of speech and listening.  

You’d be interested to know ... I don’t have a Pittsburghese accent, but I just love when people do. I love everything about this city.
 

Ryan Scott   [32]
Director of Education Initiatives, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh


Ryan Scott is the Director of Education Initiatives at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and co-director of the Black Male and Female Leadership Development Institute.

The latter is a program of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University.

He’s working to encourage youth academically and socially. He also has served with Amachi Pittsburgh, working with children and families confronting the difficulty of having a parent incarcerated.

His appointment as a delegate from 2012-15 to the annual One Young World Summit has taken him to Johannesburg, Dublin and Bangkok to research global change.

His community work includes being active with Word and Worship Church in North Braddock and serving as a lead mentor at Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 in East Liberty.

You’d be surprised to know ... that my celebrity cousin is Pharrell Williams.
 

Emiola J. Oriola   [27]
Associate Director, Investing Now Program, University Of Pittsburgh


How’s this for a greeting: “I secretly carry a cannon in my throat.”

Emiola Oriola describes himself as a “traveling poet and spoken word artist” — and that’s not even what got him on this list.

Oriola, called “Jay” by his friends, is associate director of the Investing Now Program at Pitt. At age 27, that should suffice. But there’s more.

After graduating from Pitt with a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology, he became a leader of the Urban League of Pittsburgh’s Black Male Leadership Program Institute. His work involved mentoring high school students.

Since 2014 he has been working with Investing Now, where he functions as an advisor for high school student scholars. And, about that cannon. It’s fairly high-caliber stuff. He’s a seven-time Spoken Word Champion for the City of Pittsburgh.  

If I had a second chance ... I would learn more languages in my youth. I’ve come to realize how true this Nelson Mandela quote is, “If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you speak to a man in his language, it goes to his heart.”
 

Amanda J. Laichak   [38]
Director of Education, Junior Achievement of Western PA; Part-time Ph.D. student, University of Pittsburgh


Amanda Laichak grew up in near-poverty in Johnstown.

She lives in awe of her mother, who raised her and Amanda’s severely handicapped sister, constantly encouraging Amanda to get ahead in life.

Laichak attended college and graduate school while taking on the task of helping to resettle refugees in the Pittsburgh area. Working with Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, she helped refugee youth to find career opportunities in their new country.

Later, she accepted a board post at another refugee-assistance agency, Children of Shangri-Lost.

In her latest job, she works for Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania, again promoting initiatives for children. She expects to complete her Ph.D. in social and comparative analysis in education by 2019.

Over the course of her work and studies she’s travelled to 25 countries as she focuses on the importance of building a bridge between the Pittsburgh community and its newest citizens.  

My favorite Pittsburgh thing is ... Take a group of friends and an empty stomach on the second Friday of every month to eat a big, homemade Hungarian meal (and sometimes hear the owner sing in Hungarian and dance) at Jozsa’s Corner in Hazelwood.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, who portray a fictional married couple who are big Steelers fans, delighted fans of their own during a visit to Heinz Field Saturday.
Why Hotel Rates are Dropping in Downtown Pittsburgh

Why Hotel Rates are Dropping in Downtown Pittsburgh

Rents for Downtown apartments also are declining.
New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.

Watch This

40 Under 40: 2016

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, who portray a fictional married couple who are big Steelers fans, delighted fans of their own during a visit to Heinz Field Saturday.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Steven Soderbergh Brings Bolivian Spirit to Pittsburgh

Steven Soderbergh Brings Bolivian Spirit to Pittsburgh

The award-winning director/producer returns to the city where he spent part of his childhood with Singani 63.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments