Nearly 100 Iowans officially became U.S. citizens Wednesday.
The University of Northern Iowa hosted a citizenship naturalization ceremony for 97 people from 43 countries.
The group took the formal oath of citizenship then pledged allegiance to the flag of their new country. They say now they look forward to the privileges that citizenship brings, like voting.
For Paloma Giangrande of Italy, it’s been a long time coming.
“I came here when I was 17 years old with about $50 to my name, and I was recruited to study here in the U.S. I went to Boston first, Wheaton College. Then I fell in love with the country and decided to get my Ph.D.,” said Giangrande.
Twenty-two years later, she’s a professor and cancer researcher at the University of Iowa.
“It would be very hard for me to actually have a faculty position at a university in Italy, and pursue my dream of being a scientist, so I do believe that. I think this is a great country,” Giangrande said.
Wednesday’s citizenship ceremony is the largest UNI has hosted in the event’s three year history on campus.
Thanks to our sister station KWWL for this story.