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Mayra Salinas-Menjivar’s tenacious spirit has given her confidence from a very young age. She was six years old when she boarded was on a plane from El Salvador to Los Angeles. Her companion was a woman she did not know and was not related to. All Mayra knew was that this woman would be the friend who would reunite her with her mother. This one life episode is part of the framework of attorney Salinas-Menjivar and her ability to explain the difference between child trafficking and a companion.
She was raised in Las Vegas with her older sister by their mother, a hotel housekeeper for over twenty years at the Luxor. Mayra remained undaunted when it came to her education; mastering the English language and resisting ESL labels.
In high school the diminutive young woman wanted to become a pilot. When told she was too short, she resolutely joined JROTC Color Guard at Valley High School. When finances for higher education became problematic, she did not give up. She simply modified trajectory and work and saved for her college education. She earned a finance degree from UNLV and followed up on that accomplishment with a law degree from William S. Boyd School of Law (2013).