Spotlight Series: Dr. Amanda Salinas
April 11, 2019
Believing that community college is a great start to a successful education and life, Dr. Amanda Salinas has spent a large part of her career working in the Alamo Colleges District, where her own educational journey began. Her experience as a community college student has brought her back to her roots, where she is now a professor of accounting, the lead of her department, and a regular volunteer who gives back to the South Side community.
"I was a community college student. My husband was a community college student. We even made our kids go to a community college first," said Salinas. "I just truly believe in the community college education experience. We are here for our community. We are here to help our people succeed and get an education."
Salinas has worked at Palo Alto College for the last 21 years. As the leader of the accounting program, she is responsible for handling curriculum changes, organizing what will be taught in the classrooms, and teaching Principles of Accounting courses.
"I do teach part time on the university level, but I teach full time here," said Salinas. "I would never change that because [community college] is where I belong."
Along with her responsibilities as a professor, Salinas serves on numerous college and District committees including the Library Advising Committee, Faculty Student Mentoring and Faculty Compensation. Salinas was also instrumental in helping to jump start the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center at Palo Alto College.
"I was responsible for coordinating the setup [for VITA]," said Salinas. "No matter how small my role is, the importance of this is giving back to the community and also helping to open the eyes of my students."
VITA provides free income tax assistance to community members who earn up to $55,000 annually. This IRS-sponsored program provides certified volunteers to help file taxes for those in need of the assistance.
"We get a lot of people who just don't know how to file their taxes and don't have the money to pay someone to do it for them," said Salinas.
The VITA program also provides an opportunity for students to volunteer, which Salinas thinks is something of great benefit to students as it empowers them to make a significant impact on our community.
"We get a lot of students who were always told: 'You can't do it,' 'You don't belong in college,' and 'You don't need an education, go to work,'" said Salinas. "Those are the ones that I love. You can see that when they start to be successful, they grow and become productive citizens in San Antonio. They give so much back to San Antonio."