Congressman Faleomavaega today offered congratulations to Georgina To’asavili Salazar, Nina Guadalupe Salazar, Victor Salazar, and Vailala Salazar for their major accomplishments. Georgina is currently enrolled in the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program at the University of California at Irvine. Nina graduated today as a certified Navigator on a B-52 bomber. Victor is scheduled to graduate in June from the University of California at Los Angeles, and Vailala is a freshman, also at UCLA. The three sisters and one brother are the children of Mrs. Iva Pisia Tuatagaloa-Salazar of American Samoa and Mr. Edward Salazar of San Diego, California.
“It is always a pleasure for me to share with our Samoan community good news about the accomplishments of our people,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “The achievements by the Salazar children are truly exceptional and deserve recognition. I hope that by sharing their story others, especially our youth, will be inspired to seriously consider the value of a good education.”
“First, I want to congratulate Nina Guadalupe Salazar who graduated from her Air Force aviation training today and who is now a certified B-52 bomber navigator. This is history in the making and it is my understanding that Nina is the first Samoan woman ever to attain this position.”
“In 2002, Nina graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the United States Air Force Academy and was concurrently commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Upon her graduation from San Diego High School, Nina received numerous scholarship awards from several organizations and corporations and was immediately accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Instead, Nina chose to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
“Today, our men and women in the Armed Services are being sent to hostile areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan and there is every chance for Nina to be called to serve in a war zone where her life may be in harm’s way. I am very proud of Nina’s dedication to the defense of our country, and I wish her the very best.”
“Since September of 2003, Georgina To’asavili Salazar has been enrolled in the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D program at the University of California at Irvine. She hopes to be an independent investigator in a small liberal arts college where the student to faculty ratio is smaller. In June of 2001, she graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. While at Stanford, she gained knowledge and skills outside of class through work experience in research laboratories, gaining an appreciation for how her studies could lead to a career.”
“After graduation, Georgina returned home to San Diego and began working at The Scripps Research Institute which is considered to be one of the largest private, non-profit research organizations in the United States. The Scripps Research Institute is also recognized as one of the world’s leading research centers of basic biomedical science. In the January 7, 2003 issue of the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), Georgina and her fellow scientists and co-authors were featured in the cover article and credited for their research technique of using a powerful laser in combination with quantum mechanical computations to measure the flexibility of mouse antibodies. (http://www.npaci.edu/online/v7.1/pnas.html). Georgina attributes her strong work ethics and sense of responsibility to her parents and ancestors.”
“Victor will be graduating from UCLA this June with a bachelor’s degree. His next plans include applying for law school or pursuing a master’s degree. Victor attended San Diego City College for two years under scholarship before he transferred to UCLA in 2002. He also studied abroad in countries including England, Spain, and Morocco. In the summer of 2002, Victor visited both American Samoa and (Western) Samoa.”
“Vailala is the youngest of the siblings. Like her brother, Victor, she also attends UCLA where she is a freshman majoring in anthropology and international studies. She graduated from San Diego High School last year. At UCLA, she works for the Pacific Islander Education retention project on campus which has her traveling to Carson twice a week to help tutor some 200 Samoan students at Carson High School.”
“During high school, Vailala participated in many extra-curricular activities that led her to choose a more diverse setting for college. Vailala played viola in the San Diego Youth Symphony for 6 years and she studied music at the School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego. She also played viola in the church choir for the Ola Mo Keriso congregation in San Diego. She participated in the Samoan Community Council Dancers of San Diego and was also part of a hula halau (Hawaiian dance group) called Kaleo O’Nalani. Her community involvements allow her to meet many people of Samoan heritage which further her interest in learning more about our culture. During the summer of 2003, Vailala traveled to American Samoa to visit her family in Vailoatai. She is interested in pursuing a career in education in Samoa.”
“Iva Salazar is the daughter of Mr. Pisia Tuatagaloa from the village of Papa and Sasina of Savai’i, Samoa and Mrs. To’asavili Tuatagaloa of Vailoatai, American Samoa. Iva lived in Vailoatai until she left for California in 1973 to further her education. She attended Southwestern College in San Diego, and graduated with an associate’s degree from San Diego City College. Iva is a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) and has been employed by Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Diego for 15 years.”
“Edward Salazar was born and raised in Kansas City. He served in the United States Navy for four years. He currently works for the Navy where he has been working for the past 25 years as an electrician.”
“I am very proud of the Salazar family and the success of their children. I congratulate them for their triumphs and accomplishments. Their successes are truly the result of hard work and determination. Their achievements make us all proud and I wish them the very best,” the Congressman concluded.
Photo 1: Salazar family.
Photo 2: Nina Guadalupe next to a B-52 bomber.