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NMSU to host banquet for first class of leadership institute

New Mexico State University will host a banquet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, to celebrate the accomplishments of the inaugural class of the NMSU New Mexico Leadership Institute.

A man and a woman sitting on a park bench talking.
Rene Guillaume, a college assistant professor in the New Mexico State University College of Education who leads the NMSU New Mexico Leadership Institute, talks with Sarah McEachern, a Burrell Scholar majoring in communication disorders, outside of O’Donnell Hall on campus. (NMSU photo by Julie M. Hughes)

“The leadership skills the students have gained as scholarship recipients has really prepared them to not only succeed during their undergraduate years, but to thrive while on campus. Their understanding of who they are as individuals, how to work with and through others, and the important role they play in the development of our state is unparalleled,” said Rene Guillaume, a college assistant professor in the College of Education who leads the program at NMSU.

The banquet will be at the Third Floor Bistro at the Danny Villanueva Victory Club inside NMSU’s Stan Fulton Athletics Center. There will be a brief presentation followed by a dinner.

The New Mexico Leadership Institute was designed to increase the leadership capacity in New Mexico by better preparing high school students to work effectively with others, to make positive contributions in their communities and to compete in a global marketplace. The institute provides 30 $15,000 scholarships; NMSU was awarded 17 scholarships. The students receiving the scholarship are now enrolled at NMSU and will be completing their first semester this fall.

Dan Burrell, an entrepreneur who has been involved in several successful businesses, launched the leadership institute in 2012.

The institute selected students, known as Burrell Scholars, from across the state to participate in leadership training at both NMSU and the University of New Mexico during the summers before and after their senior year of high school. In addition to those attending NMSU, another 12 are attending UNM this fall.

Sarah McEachern, a Burrell Scholar majoring in communication disorders at NMSU, said being selected for the program really helped her decide to stay in New Mexcio to attend college.

“I really encourage high school students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them,” McEachern said. “This program really prepared me for college and it has made a huge difference during this first semester.”

Each Burrell Scholar was assigned a peer mentor, a staff mentor and a faculty mentor from their college. The banquet will celebrate the successes of the inaugural class and honor the work of the peer mentors.

McEachern said she has learned a lot from her peer mentor, Taylor Garrison, a senior communication disorders major, and meeting with her faculty mentor, Ivelisse Torres-Fernandez, an assistant professor of counseling and educational psychology, once a month this semester has really been beneficial to encouraging strong study habits and helping keep her involved with activities.

The scholars are required to be involved in one campus organization, so McEachern, who hails from Artesia, N.M., joined the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, which has led her to volunteer at a local soup kitchen and participate in a cleanup event.

“I have really enjoyed volunteering. I didn’t realize that I would like it so much,” she said.

The second class of the leadership institute will be selected in the spring of 2015.

For more information on the leadership institute, contact Guillaume at 575-646-1536 or reneog@nmsu.edu.