Juan Salinas is what most people would call “highly-adaptable”. Salinas was born in Denver, Colorado but moved to several other states, including Illinois, South Dakota and Kansas before graduating from high school in Katy, Texas.
“We moved a lot for my dad’s job growing up so I was always meeting new people and learning to adapt to new places,” said Salinas.
After graduating from high school in 2018 Salinas packed his bags for Bryan, where he promptly enrolled in courses at the Blinn College District. Originally a biomedical sciences major, Salinas had a clear vision for his future – finish his associate degree before applying to veterinary school. He had even worked in a veterinary clinic for two years to gain experience before college.
“I’ve always wanted to help others so I thought being a vet would be a good idea,” said Salinas. “But I was also inspired by my cousin who worked in law enforcement. I saw an opportunity to help people and maybe change the world.”
Once Salinas realized that a career in criminal justice was a goal he’d like to pursue, he abruptly hit the brakes on his veterinary school plans and focused on finding a criminal justice program that would allow him to explore all facets of the industry. He soon found himself comparing a program at the University of Iowa and the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program offered by Tarleton State University.
“I basically did a 180 when I decided to pursue a career in criminal justice,” said Salinas. “I did a research deep-dive into programs looking for the best fit and once I realized that the TSU criminal justice program was being offered in essentially my own backyard, I was in.”
Salinas changed his major and began taking classes through Blinn at the RELLIS Campus during the spring of 2020. This fall he began his criminal justice courses through Tarleton at RELLIS and has adapted yet again to a new school and environment.
“All of my experiences with my classes, the faculty and staff at RELLIS have been incredibly positive,” said Salinas. “Which is great because it just reinforces my belief that I am making the right choices and am in the right environment to succeed.”
The cousin who Salinas credits with part of his motivation to work in criminal justice recently retired from the FBI. But he isn’t the only person in Salinas’ corner who has that kind of hands-on experience.
“I feel like it is really rare that you have a professor who majored in a subject and has actual real world experience in the same area, but Dr. Brown does,” said Salinas. “She, and really everyone at RELLIS, has cultivated an environment that makes it really easy to focus on learning.”
Upon graduation Salinas hopes to follow in his cousins footsteps and work for the FBI in homeland security.
Originally published October 8, 2020