NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

NMSU Domenici Institute invites student panelist applications for 2017 conference

The 10th year of the Domenici Public Policy Conference kicks off with its annual call to university and community college students in New Mexico. New Mexico State University’s Domenici Institute for Public Policy is now accepting applications for the 20-person student panel charged with asking the tough questions of speakers at the conference. The conference is set for Sept. 13 and 14 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Panelist applications are due April 27.

Two women and two men stand and ask questions.
(From left to right) Student panelists Joli McSherry, New Mexico State University, Gabe Gallegos, University of New Mexico, Cassandra Sanchez, New Mexico Tech, and Garrett Autry, NMSU, work as a team to question Patrick Kennedy during the 2016 Domenici Conference. Currently, NMSU is accepting applications for student panelists for the 2017 Domenici Public Policy Conference. (NMSU Photo)

“This program allows some of the best students from around New Mexico the opportunity to interact with some of the leading experts in our country,” said Garrey Carruthers, chancellor of the NMSU system and director of the Domenici Institute. “Students also show their academic skills by researching topics that are important to our nation and preparing insightful questions for our guests.”

Each selected panelist will receive a two-night hotel stay in Las Cruces, a $250 Visa gift card and a group dinner on Sept. 12. Applications require a nomination from a faculty member or school administrator and a one-page student letter expressing why the student would like to be a panelist. All materials must be received by April 27. Applicants will be notified via email of their selection status on or before June 7. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.

Since 2008, NMSU has hosted the Domenici Public Policy Conference, which is named for retired U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici. The annual event attracts more than 1,000 attendees and highlights current policy topics with national and local significance. Previous speakers have included current and former U.S. cabinet secretaries, career diplomats, members of the U.S. Congress, governors, political strategists, military commanders and business leaders. Topics and speakers for the 2017 conference will be announced later this year.

As a student panelist in 2016, Micaela de la Rosa, a junior at NMSU, said she appreciated the opportunity to explore significant policy issues.

“Being a student panelist was a profoundly eye-opening experience,” she said. “The program gave me the opportunity not only to interact with brilliant students from all over the state, it also allowed me to explore some of the most critical policy conversations taking place all over the country. As a student panelist, I had the chance to collaborate with other students and professors, conduct research on complex issues, ask questions to some of the leading voices in policy development, and most importantly, think critically about the concrete impact that public and private policies can have on all our lives.”

Jay Maharath, also a panelist in 2016 and a senior at the University of New Mexico, said the conference helped him consider other viewpoints.

“Overall, my experience as a student panelist has really opened up my eyes to the difference type of perspectives you can get from such a diverse panel group and from the speakers,” he said. “I would consider myself in the political spectrum as center-left, but being able to talk with different people with different perspectives has really opened up my eyes to something that is bigger than me. Throughout my research and time with different individuals at the conference, I came to the realization that there is always some type of rationale for someone’s actions, and simply ignoring them will not progress any form of conversation. This conference has allowed multiple perspectives to further the conversation, and hopefully, allow us to think outside the box to create solutions, rather than be trapped in our intellectual bubble.”

Over the summer, panelists will participate in research initiatives to expand their understanding of the conference speakers and topics while learning to develop challenging, concise questions. A Domenici Institute Advisory Council committee led by NMSU Vice President for Economic Development Kevin Boberg will select the panelists and mentor their work.

Panelists from NMSU have the opportunity to earn three academic credits by extending their summer research into a fall semester course. NMSU students interested in learning more about this option should contact the Domenici Institute for additional information.

Application instructions to include the faculty/administrator nomination form and student letter details are available on the conference page of the Domenici Institute’s website at http://domenici.nmsu.edu. For questions about the Domenici Student Panelist Program contact Sara Patricolo, Domenici Institute program manager, at 575-646-2066 or spatrico@nmsu.edu.