On Thursday, January 26, Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes honored Veterans of Distinction from the 50th State Assembly District in the Inland Empire, which she represents, and named her Veteran of the Year, Jo'lene Saldivar.
Saldivar was born in Colton and graduated from Colton High School before serving six years in the Air Force. She went on two deployments, earning several military honors and awards. Saldivar graduated from American Military University in 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science, then achieved a Biology (Ecology and Biodiversity) degree from Humboldt State University in 2017. Now, she is a Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Riverside in the Botany & Plant Sciences Department, having earned several prestigious fellowships. Her research interests include plant-pollinator interactions and disturbances.
Saldivar passionately recruits and retains members of historically underrepresented groups in STEM. Through mentorship and community engagement, she teaches various technical skills while providing resources to those seeking higher education opportunities. In doing so, Saldivar aims to show others that science is for everyone.
Other Veterans of Distinction included Loren Archuleta, Robert Arnold, Farron Dozier, Willie English, Eugene Garcia, Nick Lopez, Adam Perez, Arlington Rodgers Jr., Rudy Ramirez, Jorge Rodriguez, Jorge Solares, Richard Wallace and Bud Weisbart.