Student Panelists Program

2015 Domenici Conference Student Panelists

Cassandra Rodarte NM Tech

Thank you to the many faculty members and administrators from universities throughout New Mexico who nominated students to serve as panelists at the 2015 Domenici Public Policy Conference, September 16-17 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Nominations were accepted through April 30. A committee of the Domenici Institute Advisory Council reviewed the nominations and selected the following students to participate as panelists at the conference. The student teams are at work now, preparing for the conference.

Norma IbarraEastern New Mexico University
Michael BarrioNew Mexico State University
Bethany BlundellNew Mexico State University
Chu Hui ChaNew Mexico State University
Aaron LindsayNew Mexico State University
Angie MestasNew Mexico State University
Kristen SullivanNew Mexico State University
Lauren LongNew Mexico Tech
Gabriel MontoyaNew Mexico Tech
Seth BaranyUniversity of New Mexico
Juliana BilowichUniversity of New Mexico
Lauren DennisUniversity of New Mexico
Jenna HagengruberUniversity of New Mexico
Sarah HodsonUniversity of New Mexico
Anand MacherlaUniversity of New Mexico
Mark NiederhausUniversity of New Mexico
Victoria PryorUniversity of New Mexico
Brad SedilloUniversity of New Mexico
Constance WilliamsWestern New Mexico University



Our thanks to U.S. Bank for generously funding student participation in the conference.

What students can expect

Students who are selected and agree to participate as a panelist have an important role.  They are the only conference attendees who will be allowed to question the speakers. Past student panelists have questioned a host of distinguished speakers such as: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez; former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; former Secretary of State James Baker; former Senator Christopher Dodd; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; political strategist, James Carville; Ambassador Karen Hughes; former Senator Tom Daschle; former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; and retired Senator Bill Frist, M.D.

Student panelist commitment
Because student panelists play an important role, some preparation is expected. Students have begun to work with a committee of the Domenici Institute Advisory Council who will help prepare them for their role in the conference. Over the summer, student panelists are expected to participate in research initiatives resulting in the development of comprehensive and relevant questions to be addressed by the conference speakers. Students will work in teams and each team will be assigned to research and prepare questions for one speaker. It is possible that some panelists may serve on more than one team. Over the summer, this team preparation will take place over the phone, email, and via an interactive online platform. Students must be able to commit time to their team members and be able to communicate with team members throughout the summer.

Participating students can anticipate the following time commitment:

  • time spent collaborating online with team members;
  • time spent doing independent research;
  • starting early July, three short written assignments designed to acquaint students with the speakers/topics and facilitate the development of panelist questions;
  • starting early August, teams will draft and revise questions for feedback;
  • travel to Las Cruces on Sept. 15;
  • participation in a student panelist dinner and orientation on Sept. 15; and,
  • participation in all conference activities during the two-day conference, Sept. 16-17.

All student panelists will receive:

  • $250 U.S. Bank Visa gift card;
  • admission to the conference;
  • reserved seating;
  • hotel accommodations in Las Cruces (Sept. 15 & 16) arranged by the Domenici Institute;
  • student panelist dinner and orientation on Sept. 15 at the hotel;
  • lunch on Sept. 16 & 17 at the conference;
  • continental breakfast on Sept. 17 at the conference; and,
  • a private meeting (as a group) with Senator Pete V. Domenici.

Students or their universities will be required to cover:

  • transportation to and from the hotel and conference; and,
  • any miscellaneous expenses not covered above.


Questions regarding the Domenici Student Panelist Program should be directed to Sara Patricolo at the Domenici Institute: 575-646-2066 or