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 Daniel Salinas’ Texas Journey
BY: Alejandro Brown

On a quiet morning, the sounds of Daniel Salinas’ keyboard clicking can be heard in the distance as he prepares himself to be of aid to the students of the Mayborn School of Journalism. Often he reflects on his journey from McAllen to Denton and he finds himself in a full circle moment. 

 

“So a lot of the time I’ll meet students even now who are from the Valley,” Salinas said. “They’re in some boats that I was in, they are first-generation, they don’t know what to do in terms of who to reach out to, what to do next, or they don’t feel like they have somebody that they can relate to.” 

Hailing from The Rio Grande Valley, Salinas has found himself in the heart of the University of North Texas, advising students, constructing schedules, and making small differences that’ll leave a long-lasting impact on the lives of his students. Salinas’ journey throughout Texas has helped shape the way he engages with his students on a level that is genuinely relatable and productive. 

Salinas was born in McAllen, Texas, and raised in Mission, Texas. He described his childhood in Mission as joyous, being sheltered from the realities of financial instability. Salinas would grow up to become adaptable in new settings, and around new people, as moving became a prominent theme in his growing up. 

“I would definitely say it was very eye-opening for me as a kid because your parents do the best they can to give you the childhood you need, but I was also very aware because of my surroundings and moving around,” Salinas said. As the youngest, the idea of Salinas moving away from what he’s known his whole life in pursuit of more opportunities became more apparent as he became older. 

Senior year of high school, Salinas decided that he would leave the RGV to study graphic design at Sam Houston State University. In his eyes, this was a chance for him to attain a better life for himself and while hesitant at first, his family would encourage him as the anticipation thickened when he received his acceptance letter. 

Golden ticket in hand, Salinas would travel six hours to Huntsville, Texas to attend SHSU, expanding his horizons and surrounding himself with like-minded individuals. Salinas’ early days at Sam Houston showed that graphic design wasn't in the cards for his future. 

After meeting with advisors, he set his sights on public relations and advertising, which propelled him into other aspects of the college experience. He participated in PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), and served as resident advisor, an ambassador for TRIO Student Support Services, and worked as a peer mentor. 

In the duration of his time at Sam Houston, he would find himself in Houston, Texas for an internship with NDC (National Diversity Council). Salinas honed his creativity on campaigns that focused on community engagements, reporting, blogging, and graphics. 

He was able to work on a collaborative campaign with SKYY Vodka and WWE Superstar John Cena where they were able to raise $50,000 through hashtags. 

In May 2020, Salinas became a first-generation graduate, receiving his B.A. in public relations and advertising with a minor in community leadership. Afterward, he found himself returning home to Mission, Texas where he began his job hunt during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In two months Salinas applied to over 100 jobs, leading to his next destination. He was offered a job in Arlington, Texas as a leasing agent for an apartment complex. 

“It wasn’t my first choice, but I needed something,” Salinas said. “My bills weren’t going to stop, my college tuition wasn't going to stop and pause for me so I took the job and moved up”. 

The move to Arlington proved to be difficult on Salinas since his family was so far away. However, he would reflect on the consistent moving during his childhood as preparation for the next chapter in his journey throughout Texas. 

After six months of being a leasing agent, he found another job as a customer service representative with Chewy headquarters in Dallas, Texas. 

He would commute from Arlington to Dallas, still attempting to find that perfect fit. 

“I was missing the college experience, something about college that I was tied to from undergrad was missing,” Salinas said. 

After another six months, he accepted the advising position at UNT in Denton, Texas. He was able to appreciate Denton for its college town atmosphere that mirrored similarities from his time in Huntsville as he can continue to provide support and guidance for students who are on the brink of beginning their similar journey. 

“I’m always open to traveling or moving if it’s worth it,” he said. “Not just in the sense of money but in the sense of what I want to do and if I’m helping people. Helping others is not on my to-do list because it’s innate, it's just what I naturally do.” 

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