Added reward awaits student panelists at NMSU’s 2012 Domenici Conference

March 14, 2012 by Janet Perez, NMSU News Center

The tradition of allowing a group of university students from across the state to ask questions of the Domenici Public Policy Conference’s famous speakers continues this year with an added incentive.

As part of a $10,000 sponsorship from U.S. Bank, each student selected to ask questions during the 2012 Domenici Public Policy Conference will receive a $250 U.S. Bank Visa gift card. Twenty students will be chosen to participate as panelists and will be the only conference attendees allowed to question speakers. To be considered, students must be nominated by faculty or administrators from their respective universities.

“We are pleased to once again be participating in the Domenici Public Policy Conference,” said Craig Buchanan, market president for U.S. Bank in Las Cruces. “I believe that sponsoring the student panelists is a great way for U.S. Bank to be engaged in this very important event.”

Along with the gift cards, U.S. Bank’s sponsorship of the student panelist program also pays for the students’ hotel accommodations in Las Cruces and an orientation banquet.

Entering its fifth year hosting the conference, the Domenici Institute, named after retired New Mexico Sen. Pete V. Domenici, is housed on the campus of New Mexico State University. Every year, the conference brings together some of the country’s top experts to discuss a variety of important policy issues facing the nation. This year’s Domenici Conference takes place Sept. 19-20 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

While the speakers for the 2012 conference have yet to be announced, past student panelists have queried important policymakers such as New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, former Secretary of State James Baker, former Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

A student asks a question during the 2011 Domenici Public Policy Conference. This year, U.S. Bank will award a $250 gift card to each student selected for the Domenici Conference panel. (NMSU photo)

A student asks a question during the 2011 Domenici Public Policy Conference. This year, U.S. Bank will award a $250 gift card to each student selected for the Domenici Conference panel. (NMSU photo)

“The student panelists have become an integral component of the Domenici Institute’s annual conference,” said Ramon Dominguez, an associate professor of education and a member of the Domenici Institute Advisory Council. “Student participation adds an academic dimension to the conference activities and provides students with an excellent learning experience. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to network with high-profile professionals. The experience not only motivates students, but also provides for a professional reference on their vitas.”

In exchange, the students are expected to put in both time and work. A Domenici Institute Advisory Council committee will select and prepare the student panelists for their roles in the conference. Over the summer, the students will work in teams, with each team assigned to research and prepare questions for one speaker. Some panelists may serve on more than one team. Participation in all conference activities also is required. During the conference, the students will have a group meeting with Domenici, as well.


Only students nominated by faculty members or administrators from their universities will be considered for the panel, so students are encouraged to request nominations. All nominations are due by April 30, with the winning students notified on or before June 15.

“I can’t think of a more excellent opportunity for our future leaders to begin the process of learning how public policy is developed and refined, “ said Garrey Carruthers, dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Business and director of NMSU’s Domenici Institute. “We look forward to hosting some of our state’s brightest young minds.”

For more information or to access a nomination form, log onto

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