Student Panelist Program

2016 Domenici Conference Student Panelist Nominations

Panelist selections were announced June 10.

Thank you to the many faculty members and administrators from universities throughout New Mexico who nominated students to serve as panelists at the 2016 Domenici Public Policy Conference, September 14-15 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Nominations were accepted through April 28. 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.

Kylie KatalinichEastern New Mexico University
Tamlyn CrainNew Mexico Highlands University
Cassandra SanchezNew Mexico Tech
Garrett AutryNew Mexico State University
Micaela de la RosaNew Mexico State University
Joli McSherryNew Mexico State University
Dylan PellNew Mexico State University
Connor SchultzNew Mexico State University
Haley StewartNew Mexico State University
Margie VelaNew Mexico State University
Tessa ChrismanUniversity of New Mexico
Tiberius DavisUniversity of New Mexico
Gabriel GallegosUniversity of New Mexico
Sonny Christopher HaquaniUniversity of New Mexico
Andrew HollisUniversity of New Mexico
Randy KoUniversity of New Mexico
Jay MaharathUniversity of New Mexico
Monica MorenoWestern New Mexico University
Grecia RivasWestern New Mexico University




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


What students can expect

Students play a particularly important role. By tradition, they are the only attendees allowed to question the speakers.

Past student panelists have questioned a host of distinguished speakers and we expect this year to be no different. Past speakers include: former U.S. cabinet secretaries Leon Panetta, Ken Salazar, James Baker, Mary Peters, and Janet Napolitano; former senators Bill Frist, Tom Daschle and Christopher Dodd; former ambassadors John Bolton, Karen Hughes, and Robert Ford; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove; and political strategists James Carville and Donna Brazile; along with governors and top military commanders.

Student panelist commitment
Because of their importance, students tend to spend as much time preparing for the conference as the speakers themselves. Once notified by email of their selection, students began working with a committee of the Domenici Institute Advisory Council and their team members, other students selected from the pool of nominees from across the state. Each team will research, write, and practice asking comprehensive and relevant questions to be addressed by the conference speakers. Depending on their interests and the time they have available, some students may have the opportunity to serve on more than one team, engaging with other students and discussions with speakers. 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 during 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. 13;
  • participation in a student panelist dinner and orientation on Sept. 13; and,
  • participation in all conference activities during the two-day conference, Sept. 14 & 15.

All student panelists will receive:

  • $250 Visa gift card;
  • admission to the conference;
  • reserved seating;
  • hotel accommodations in Las Cruces (Sept. 13 & 14) arranged by the Domenici Institute;
  • student panelist dinner and orientation on Sept. 13 at the hotel;
  • lunch on Sept. 14 & 15 at the conference;
  • continental breakfast on Sept. 15 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