Six to Be Recognized at Sixth Annual Women Students Celebration Event

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Congressional candidate Eloise Gomez Reyes is keynote speaker at event that recognizes leadership, civic engagement and overcoming adversity

By Ross French on February 21, 2014

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Six UC Riverside students will be honored at the Celebration for a Day of Appreciation and Recognition of Women Students on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Front row, from left - Remi Rehman, Vickie Vertiz, and Divya Sain. Back row from left - Gabriela Bobadilla, Katherine Tsai, and Jacklyn Kozich. Photo by Richard Zapp

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Six University of California, Riverside students will receive awards for efforts in leadership and civic engagement, social justice and overcoming adversity at the fourth annual Celebration for a Day of Appreciation and Recognition of Women Students on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is organized by the UCR Women’s Resource Center and sponsored by campus and community partners and is part of the campus’ annual celebration of Women’s History Month. It will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in HUB 302S. An RSVP is requested.

“This annual celebration forwards the university’s strategic plan for diversity and former Chancellor Tim White’s Proclamation for A Day of Appreciation and Recognition of Women Students,” said Women’s Resource Center Director Adrienne Sims.

Eloise Gomez Reyes

The keynote speaker is Eloise Gomez Reyes, a long-time Inland Empire resident who is running for the congressional seat in the 31st district.

A native of Colton, she worked in the onion fields at the age of 12 with mother and five siblings to earn money for school clothes. She attended San Bernardino Valley College, then graduated from USC. She later earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School and began her legal career representing injured workers and unions in workers comp cases. She later moved back to Colton and started her own law office, which she has run for more than two decades. She is a founding Board member of the Inland Empire Community Health Center in Bloomington, is on the Executive Board for the Children’s Spine Foundation, and served on the Dean’s Medical School Mission Committee here at UC Riverside.

Sims said she is looking forward to hearing Reyes speak.

“Eloise Gomez Reyes, is not only a local – she was born and raised in Colton, but she’s a frontrunner for the IE – the first Latina to start to her own law practice here.  Her experiences give a strong voice to women’s issues,” Sims said.

Information on the awards and the recipients

Leadership and Civic Engagement Award

The award is presented to an undergraduate and graduate student who devotes extra-ordinary time and effort towards leadership and civic engagement activities.

Katherine Tsai

Undergraduate Student Honoree:  Katherine Tsai, Biology

Katherine is an exemplary academic, majoring in biology with a 3.95 GPA.  In addition to forwarding academic excellence, she devotes countless hours to helping others.  Her drive to improve humankind pushes her to optimize leadership roles in which she can make positive impacts on fellow students and other communities.

Vickie Vertiz

Graduate Student Honoree:  Vickie Vertiz, Creative Writing

A self-identified Xicana with a background in community activism and advocacy, Vickie, through academic work, volunteerism and community service, demonstrates a commitment to bettering all our communities.  As a leader, her goal is to rectify power imbalances.

Social Justice Award

The award is presented to an undergraduate and graduate student who works to create a society based on principles of equality and solidarity.

Gabriela Bobadilla

Undergraduate Student Honoree:  Gabriela Bobadilla, Spanish

Gabriela’s work with the anti-human trafficking task force and her commitment to social justice issues in Riverside’s local community are unparalleled. Her work with Operation SafeHouse and the Child Leaders Project in Riverside show her hard work and dedication to key causes.

Remie Rahman

Graduate Student Honoree:  Remie Rahman, Education

Remie is among the first to volunteer for and respond to social justice platforms.  What stands out is her tireless contribution to social issues organizations and programs, like the R.E.A.C.H. Peer Educators, Project LEAD, and the recent Student of Color Conference.

Overcoming Adversity Award

The award is presented to an undergraduate and graduate student who withstands a misfortune, setback, or debilitating circumstance.

Jacklyn Kozich

Undergraduate Student Honoree:  Jacklyn Kozich, Psychology

Jacklyn has overcome what seemed to be insurmountable bouts of adversity, including family tragedies and her own blunt trauma and disability. A Navy veteran, she served the USS Boxer, an amphibous assault carrier that participated in the rescue Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama from Somali pirates. That rescue is the subject of the recent blockbuster film “Captain Phillips.”

Divya Sain

Graduate Student Honoree:  Divya Sain, Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics

Despite medical challenges, including limited mobility, Divya is an outstanding student who recently receivied the Guru Gobind Singh Graduate Fellowship, which is only awarded to one UC student per year. She will complete her Ph.D. in December.

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