• July 2, 2024

TV lifestyle host shares degree path to fulfilling career

TV lifestyle host shares degree path to fulfilling career
Karla Salinas says she has a passion for telling people’s stories and helping the small businesses around the Rio Grande Valley. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

By Amanda Alaniz

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS– As a television lifestyle show host, UTRGV alum Karla Salinas’s workdays vary. Some days, she’ll head to the KRGV Channel 5 studio in Weslaco to review her weekend story package. Other days, she’s out on location to prepare for an interview.

The Mission native said she didn’t envision having the career she currently has, hosting KRGV’s “Take 5,” getting to tell people’s stories and showcasing small businesses throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Instead, when she started her college journey, she wanted to major in business.

“UTRGV has an amazing business school. And I wanted to add a little bit of my passion, which is learning about people and cultures,” she said. So, she studied International Business, a decision that came about after taking a cultural anthropology class that stirred her imagination.

Salinas started at UTRGV in 2015 – the year UTRGV first opened its doors to students. And instead of the more conventional four-year college journey, she graduated six years later with a degree in International Business. She had been facing personal struggles and questioned if she could, or would, ever complete her degree.

In 2019, she lost her mother, an important member of her support system and part of the reason she was going to college. Her mother was an educator, so education was important to them both. After her mother passed, so did the spark. Salinas started to question if she would complete her degree.

There were times when she didn’t think she could possibly finish. Then her father – whom she calls her best friend – stepped in.

“I remember thinking – I can’t do this. I can’t continue my educational journey right now. I don’t have it in me. But my father would tell me, ‘Tú puedes. Tú puedes hacerlo. Why? Because you’re my daughter,’” he told her.

“He was a huge part of the reason why I ended up accomplishing my goal. And I graduated,” she said.


Before Salinas became the host of “Take 5,” she had been a receptionist at the station. Before that, she and her family had been regular Channel 5 viewers.

“We would watch Channel 5 every single morning. And I remember when I got the receptionist job, my mom, who was alive then, told me, ‘I can’t believe you are going to be a receptionist at Channel 5,’” she said, smiling at the memory. “Now I think … if she only knew. If only she could have seen what was going to happen in just a few years.”

When the host position was made available, Salinas decided to take a chance. “Take 5” was a newly created show focused on lifestyle, and was focused on showcasing all the Rio Grande Valley has to offer, from food and sports, to shops and more.

Salinas was not a communication major; her degree was in international business, after all. But she believed she would have a chance to utilize her degree because she understood the backgrounds of the people she would interview.

Getting to share people’s stories – that remains her passion.

“People are trusting me to tell their story in the right manner. So, when they’re speaking to me, they’re trusting that I’m going to tell their story well. I love doing that,” she said.

“Sometimes these small businesses are at their wits end. Sometimes they don’t have customers coming in. And the show for them? They tell us, ‘This was an answer to my prayers, that you guys came in to tell our story.’ We, here at Take 5, will get people to come through the door again.”

Salinas believes she is acting on her mother’s advice: “Do something that you love.” She gives small businesses a place to share their stories.


Reflecting on her college career, Salinas said everything she studied at UTRGV – the friends she made, the professors she learned from – all had an impact on her current career.

“My education at UTRGV is the foundation of everything. It is so important that I received that higher education. It helped me know how to talk to people. How to communicate effectively with someone whose background I may not know. To figure out how I can effectively communicate with them.

“UTRGV taught me everything I need to know – it taught me the international aspect of my degree,” Salinas said.

Her advice to future UTRGV graduates – and to all Vaqueros, whether they know what their path is yet or not – is to follow their passions.

“You just never know what doors may open for you,” she said.

They should follow their dreams and not be afraid of taking their first steps, because UTRGV offers so many opportunities to find the resources to continue with their education.

“Go to the financial aid office,” she said. “I bet you anything they will sit with you and help you.”

Salinas noted the growth her alma mater has had since 2015, like the addition of a football program, a marching band, and so many master’s and doctoral programs.

“I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen in the next 10 years at UTRGV!” she said.

Visit utrgv.edu/alumni to find out more about UTRGV alumni and how to stay connected.

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