Enrique Salinas is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. He earned his Master and Bachelor of Social Work degree from Texas State University. He also earned two associates, Liberal Arts and Psychology, from St. Philip’s College. Enrique’s personal experience includes a family history of incarceration and poverty. As a three-time McKinney-Vento high school dropout, third generation incarcerated male, and first-generation high school graduate, his research is grounded in sharing the narratives of individuals and groups who have been marginalized in order to create systemic change in policy and raise social consciousness around systems that perpetuate negative cycles.

Enrique’s research interests are grounded in his over 5 years’ experience working with underserved youth in the alternative charter high school setting, in a community-based intervention program, and as a therapist in a residential treatment center. Most recently, he worked in an alternative high school directly with students in the classroom by providing tutoring, college preparation, case management, individual therapy, coaching, and his proudest role, co-facilitator of an indigenous based character development program for male students, Joven Noble. Enrique volunteered for 3 years as a player/coach in the San Antonio Eastside Promise Neighborhood Midnight Summer Basketball League. The mission of this program was to curb neighborhood violence by providing youth and young men a positive outlet during specific times when they observed a peak in violence and crime. The program offered wrap around services for basketball players and the community, education programs and services, and build a positive relationship with the community and law enforcement. Enrique worked at a residential treatment facility as a therapist primarily for veterans where he facilitated psychoeducation and substance use groups with adults with mental health and/or substance use issues. Along with his professional goals as a researcher, Enrique is dedicated to being an advocate for youth, their families, and communities of color. He hopes to serve as a positive role model to marginalized groups and communities, provide support and mentorship, and inspire youth to pursue their goals and dreams.

Enrique received a Graduate School Mentoring Fellowship and is mentored by Dr. Cynthia G. Franklin. He is currently working on a research team with Dr. Franklin on a systematic review on alternative schools for publication. Enrique’s future academic goals is continue to collaborate on research teams to move research forward by contributing to literature that informs policy and practice in his areas of interest.

Professional Interests

Generational incarceration and poverty, education attainment of at-risk youth, school-to-prison-pipeline, gang intervention, mental health and substance use, federal and state school policy, community/neighborhood violence prevention, first-generation student success in all education levels.