Public Forum: Challenging issues facing our youth

Public Forum: Challenging issues facing our youth

By Brittney Payette

Managing Editor

At 4 p.m. on April 13 in the Johnson Auditorium in Ross Hall, Dr. Syed Ahmed, director of Bill Burgess Jr. Research Center, hosted a public forum called “Challenging Issues Facing Our Youth.”

The keynote speaker was Daniel Pae, who is a representative in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Oklahoma voters elected Pae into office in 2018 to represent West Lawton, and he still serves in that position today. Pae joined the forum via Zoom.

He said that he is focused on public service and making a difference in his community.

“The more types of perspectives – ethnically, socioeconomically, and generationally – that are represented in government, the more we can effectively govern,” Pae said.

One student attendee was Freshman Accounting major Brianna Julian, who said the forum was informative.

“I believe the biggest issues facing the youth are technology, motivation and not having good mentorship,” Julian said. “I learned that the older generation wants to help, but they have no idea how to communicate with the younger generation.”

Julian also said she enjoyed the forum.

“It opened up my eyes to the issues that the younger generation faces and how they don’t know how to speak up about what’s going on,” she said.

Ahmed said he talked with Pae about possible forum topics when Pae was on campus for a different event.

Then, Ahmed asked Pae to be the keynote speaker for this event.

Ahmed said there are a multitude of issues the younger generations are facing.

“One is the challenges that are coming from all the social media,” Ahmed said. “Is it something productive (that is) helping them, or is it a distraction for them?”

Ahmed said other issues that are prevalent today are how stressed the younger genderations are about the job situation in the U.S. right now, worries about the drug epidemic going on and gun violence that has struck the nation.

Ahmed said the forum raised some questions as well, such as: “Is society going in the right direction?”

Moreover, Ahmed said that because of this forum he learned that more students are opting for technical jobs and trades.

“Students can come for a couple of years to Cameron University to do their associate degree because they need a well-rounded education,” he said. “Then, they can go to a vocational (school.)”

Ahmed said he hopes that the forum benefited people by allowing people to talk about some of these issues and some possible solutions to help with some of them.

“We need to go to the community, different communities,” Ahmed said. “I think it would be a good idea for community leaders who are involved with education, or our legislative leaders who are involved with education (to,) once a year, visit all the schools.”

For more information, contact Ahmed at

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