Student Panelist Program

2017 Domenici Conference Student Panelist Applications

Accepting applications through Thursday, April 27!

The Domenici Institute for Public Policy at New Mexico State University is now accepting student applications for panelist positions at the 2017 Domenici Public Policy Conference, Sept. 13-14, Las Cruces Convention Center.

In their role as panelists, students are the only members of the audience who are invited to ask questions of the Domenici Conference speakers. Students discover that this tradition is an honor and a responsibility as they query highly distinguished policymakers, scientists, military commanders, and political strategists on behalf of more than a thousand attendees. Moreover, only 20 student applicants from colleges and universities in New Mexico are selected to participate, making each panelist position a prestigious opportunity.

The Honor

Past student panelists have engaged with key figures responsible for shaping U.S. policy. While
the agenda for the 2017 conference is yet to be announced, such key figures from past conferences include: former cabinet secretaries Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, 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; political strategists James Carville and Donna Brazile; and, many others.

Each year, the conference addresses different topics, always seeking diverse viewpoints supported by sound research and science.

The Responsibility

Because of their important role, student panelists tend to spend as much time preparing for the conference as the speakers themselves. Once notified of their selection, panelists begin working with a committee of the Domenici Institute Advisory Council.

A small team of panelists will be assigned to each speaker and one student per team will serve as team leader. Each team will research, write, and practice asking comprehensive and relevant questions. This preparation takes place during the summer by 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 months. Once at the conference, students are required to participate in all conference activities.

The Reward

The benefits of the Domenici Student Panelist Program can be social, professional, and educational. The reward is the result of each student’s initiative.

Students should seize the opportunity to network with each other, with conference attendees, and with speakers. Even before the conference, while conducting summer research, panelists should reach out to experts in their topic, wherever they may be, using this program as an opportunity to connect with faculty at other universities, to seek the advice of research scholars at policy think tanks, to contact business professionals to gain their perspectives. The options are endless as are the potential social, professional, and educational connections.

The Domenici Institute for Public Policy will provide each participating student panelist the following benefits.

  • $250 Visa gift card
  • Free admission to the conference with reserved seating
  • Hotel accommodations in Las Cruces (Sept. 12 and 13), arranged by the Domenici Institute
  • Group dinner and pre-conference prep session on Sept. 12 at the hotel
  • Lunch on Sept. 13 and 14 at the conference
  • Continental breakfast on Sept. 14 at the conference

Students or their schools will be required to cover: 1) transportation to and from the hotel and convention center, and 2) any expenses not covered above.

How to Apply

The panelist application process has two parts: 1) Students must be nominated by a faculty member or administrator at their respective college or university in New Mexico, and 2) Students must submit a letter of interest (not to exceed one page) explaining why he or she would like to be a panelist.

All students – undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral – may apply. However, students who have already served as panelists at one of our past conferences are not eligible. Multiple student nominations from one faculty member or administrator will be accepted. Also, students may ask multiple people to nominate them. Students are encouraged to discuss this opportunity with faculty members and administrators.

All student applicants must be enrolled with their nominating university or college at the time of the application and have plans to continue as a student in the fall semester at a university or college in New Mexico.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS: Complete the requested fields in the form below. Print a copy for your records and then submit the form. The faculty member or administrator nominating the student will receive confirmation via email (within 5 days) that the nomination was received. If you do not receive confirmation, please contact Sara Patricolo at 575-646-2066.

Faculty and administrators making the nominations will be asked to certify that they have informed the student of their intent to nominate him/her and provide his/her contact information to the Domenici Institute at New Mexico State University. Nominations will be accepted through Thursday, April 27, 2017. All student nominees will be advised of their selection status via email on or before June 7. The individual who nominates the student will be copied on this email notification.

STUDENT LETTER OF INTEREST: Students who are nominated by faculty or administrators are required to submit a letter of interest (not to exceed one page) explaining why he or she would like to be a panelist. Address the letter of interest to: Ms. Sara Patricolo, The Domenici Institute, New Mexico State University, PO Box 30001 (MSC 3-DI), Las Cruces, NM 88003. Please email the letter to: by April 27.

All materials must be received by the Domenici Institute no later than April 27. All student nominees will be advised of their selection status via email on or before June 7.

Course Credit Option: Domenici Student Scholars Program
NMSU students who are selected as panelists will have the opportunity to earn three credits by extending their summer research into a fall semester course – the Domenici Student Scholars Program. These students will develop a paper to expand on the policy topics they explored during the conference. Students interested in earning NMSU course credit should discuss this interest in their panelist program letter of interest and visit the Domenici Student Scholars Program page for more information and/or contact the Domenici Institute at 575-646-2066 or

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