Monique Salinas

Founder and Executive Director
Bachelor of Music Education and Business Administration
Class of 1978
Honoree's Site
Alma Mater:
Aquinas College

Independent Alum of the Day

Monique Salinas is the proud daughter of a migrant worker.  She graduated from Aquinas College with a bachelor's degree in music education and business administration, and earned a master's degree in music and a doctorate in music education from Michigan State University. Monique has taught music education classes and choir in grades kindergarten through graduate school. For 13 years, she produced and directed a summer theatre program for middle school and high school students, directing musicals including Godspell, Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music, and others. 

In 1998, Monique founded the Girls Choral Academy, a nonprofit after-school choral program for girls dedicated to increasing leadership, with a concentration on urban cities. This program won numerous awards, and traveled to England, Austria, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Orlando. 

In 2008, Monique began another venture.  She founded Mind Meets Music, a program using music to increase academic achievement, literacy, and 21st century skills, and enhance brain development in at-risk kindergarten, first, and second grade students. This program uses Hungarian and Swiss music methodologies to achieve its goals, and test results show a 34% increase in reading improvement. Mind Meets Music currently serves over 1,700 students in 64 classrooms in West Michigan. In 2013, Mind Meets Music became an independent non-profit, and Monique currently leads the organization. 

Monique was a YWCA Tribute award winner in 2002. In 2011, she was the Aquinas Alumna of the Year and in 2013, Monique was a finalist in the ATHENA competition

My motivation

I am motivated by making a difference in the world. I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. If I can make a difference in just one other life, than my life will have been worth living.  

My latest accomplishments

I recently wrote a grant proposal that resulted in our organization receiving a two million dollar grant from the US Department of Education.

Next big goal

My next big goal is to take the Mind Meets Music program to areas beyond West Michigan throughout the state of Michigan in order to touch and change the lives of more high-needs children.

Why is choosing your own path important?

Some people are motivated by security, some by money, some by fame, and some by mediocrity. Choosing my own path is important to me because I am motivated by affecting change: change in children, change in education, change in systems. My path is a path that chooses risk over security, challenge over money, groundwork over fame, and originality over mediocrity. My path is of utmost importance to me!

Favorite place on campus

The Art and Music Building

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